Los Angeles Approves First Participatory Budgeting Pilot Program, LA REPAIR

The City Council of Los Angeles, CA recently unanimously approved LA REPAIR (Los Angeles Reforms for Equity and Public Acknowledgement of Institutional Racism) – the city’s first participatory budgeting pilot program. LA REPAIR will give nine communities impacted by high rates of poverty, COVID-19, pollution and other issues the power to allocate $8.5 million in city funds. According to the City, the funding will be “geared toward community-driven ideas and community-based partners over city-led programmes.” LA REPAIR will begin soliciting ideas early next year, with community votes on final proposals in May of 2022.

Any resident of a ‘REPAIR zone’ will be encouraged to provide ideas for programs and vote on final proposals. Residents in each REPAIR zone will form an advisory committee to oversee the implementation of the program.

In order to determine the nine REPAIR zones, The Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) used data on poverty, COVID-19 case rates, the digital divide, and pollution. The nine selected communities all have at least 87% residents of color, and at least 16% living in poverty. The communities have an unemployment rate of at least 15%, and at least 30% of all renter households paid half or more of their income on rent.

“When it comes to the issues that burden neighbourhoods across our city – whether it’s the climate crisis, the pandemic, or economic inequality – nobody has better solutions than our own residents,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “LA REPAIR is about empowering our communities with the resources and autonomy they need to address the challenges of today and make their neighborhoods stronger and more resilient for generations to come.”