California’s urban counties – representing more than 80 percent of the state’s population – provide critical public services in communities across the state. Most importantly, urban counties care for those in crisis every day. On the state and federal governments’ behalf, urban counties are responsible for addressing the well-being of our state’s most vulnerable populations. In the face of today’s COVID-19 pandemic, the essential role counties play as an extension of the state and providers of critical front-line services takes on even greater importance. Urban counties are at ground-zero of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis with the vast majority of COVID positive cases and hospitalizations arising in our communities. Our state’s collective ability to address our communities’ near-term needs and to provide needed supports and services post-pandemic – with caseloads spiking at the same time revenues are sinking – will require a committed and productive state-county partnership.
In that spirit of partnership, urban counties seek state support for these efforts, including, but not limited to: providing tools and resources to stabilize county budgets and to ensure vital services in high demand can be sustained post-pandemic, dedicating additional resources toward addressing the homeless crisis, seeking additional flexibility in utilizing MHSA funds, and ensuring critical funding for safety net hospitals and clinics.