Home » Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to Consider Measure X Allocations

Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to Consider Measure X Allocations

by CC News
Measure X

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County board of Supervisors are set to discuss new Measure X allocations for its unspent balances.

Currently, the Measure X funds available for allocation include $4.7 million in ongoing and $895k in one-time funding with an anticipated revenue surplus by September 2024 of $32.8 million.

The Measure X Community Advisory Board have prioritized the following core areas to purposefully ameliorate community pain:

  • The African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub
  • Food security
  • Mental health services
  • Guaranteed income
  • Services for older adults and disabled residents
  • Services for LGBTQI+ residents

Most recently at its November 28 meeting, the Board approved a $2.3 million allocation to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. This includes $667k from the City of Pinole contract that will be used to support capital outlay of a new ladder truck. They also have a balance of $1.6 million related to fire station 81 operations and staffing to support the increased fire station construction costs

The Board also approved $1.7 million to Employment and Human Services which include:

  • Reapply $4.3M balance from the youth centers operating budget and add $693k from the older adults allocation to capital costs totaling $5M for a 3rd youth center
  • Reallocate $1M balance from unspent older adults allocation to one-time first year operations budget for the youth centers

Here is a rundown of the recommendations and the reason behind it as part of a 154-page document:

According to its final recommendations:

African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub

One person’s harm is another person’s responsibility; we bear shared responsibility for shared suffering. The issues uplifted by our African American community are not those of an aggrieved minority—they are fundamental issues of justice. MXCAB members collectively believe that the County has a deep responsibility for creating the conditions to foster more just relationships and sustainable pathways to repair and regeneration.

The African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub will provide culturally responsive and essential safety net services to a disproportionately impacted and significantly vulnerable population. Cities across Contra Costa, including Concord, Pittsburg, Antioch, and others, have seen large growth in their African American and Latino communities. (See An Equity Profile of the Five-County San Francisco Bay Area Region, p. 22). Communities of color face significant health and economic challenges. Nearly one in four U.S.-born Black residents, and more than one in five Native Americans in the Bay Area, live below the poverty level, as compared with one in 15 U.S.-born white residents. Black residents are nearly four times as likely as their white counterparts to be in poverty. (See An Equity Profile of the Five-County San Francisco Bay Area Region, pp. 63 and 42). Based on the data, the populations that most need the African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub are growing significantly in Contra Costa County, particularly East County. The compelling stories powerfully and passionately shared by many

Antioch and East County community members with lived experience elevated the urgency of funding this critical African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub. For this reason, MXCAB specifically recommends that Measure X funding be designated to create an African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub in East Contra Costa, with the understanding that the Hub will be open to residents countywide.

We received in-person, virtual, and written testimony from middle and high schoolers, parents, grandparents, and church members about the necessity and importance of establishing an African American Holistic Wellness and Resource Hub. This Measure X funding clearly benefits the residents most harmed and marginalized by racial and economic inequities.

The Board of Supervisors demonstrated through past funding decisions that equity in action, healthy communities, and welcoming and safe communities are Measure X goal areas. The African American Wellness and Resource Hub fits squarely within all of them. However, the Board of Supervisors did not allocate funding to this cause in the first round of funding in 2021. MXCAB requests that the Board of Supervisors fund the establishment of the Hub as a top priority in the current round of Measure X funding, with funding commencing immediately directed to existing, on-the-ground community organizations in Antioch and East County that serve this population and can address urgent needs. In other words, we do not want to see funding delayed while awaiting completion of the current feasibility process. The needs are present, palpable, and urgent, and we must meet them now by providing additional resources to those who are already doing this critical care work. MXCAB also recommends that the Board of Supervisors provide additional dedicated funding over the next several funding cycles to bring this vital project to full fruition.

Programs to address food insecurity

Food is a basic human need. MXCAB received in-person and virtual testimony from those with lived experience regarding the dire level of food insecurity affecting so many county residents, including seniors, working adults, and children. Public testimony highlighted that since the pandemic, more people are now utilizing food banks and food distribution programs, even while funding has become increasingly scarce due to the end of federal Covid relief funds.

Programs that address food insecurity align with all five goal areas previously identified by the Board of Supervisors, which include mental well-being, equity in action, healthy communities, intergenerational thriving, and welcoming and safe communities. (https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/8530/Measure-X). In addition to affecting psychological and

emotional well-being, food insecurity is often linked to and exacerbated by economic vulnerability. It is worth noting that seniors comprise one of the most vulnerable populations and fastest-growing populations in the County, and MXCAB received significant public testimony regarding support for senior services. The County cannot have healthy, welcoming, and safe communities if all residents do not have access to food. Funding programs to address food insecurity is funding crucial safety net services and protecting vulnerable populations. This funding meets an urgent, emergent, and ongoing need that has intensified since 2021.

Mental health services for the following priority populations: children ages 0-5, school-aged children ages 6-18, young adults up to age 26, and LGBTQI+ residents

Children ages 0-5: Early childhood services were explicitly named in the Measure X ballot language, in recognition of the importance of investing in preventative programs and upstream solutions. Additionally, mental health services for children, especially for those ages 0-5, was an unfunded area from the original 2021 MXCAB recommendations.

The need for these services has grown exponentially in the last two years. Early mental health interventions mitigate stresses on children and families and help prevent issues from compounding as children grow older. These services provide young children, families, and caregivers with concrete skills and practical strategies to stay healthy and foster positive relationships.

Across the county, there are significant unmet needs for early childhood mental health services. For young children to thrive, counties and communities must support their social-emotional health and that of the adults in their lives. During the community input process, many stakeholders emphasized the urgent need for funding community-based early childhood mental health supports, including counseling, support groups, screenings, home visiting, consultations for child care providers and more.

School-aged children and adolescents (ages 6-18): The importance of accessible mental health services for school-age children and adolescents was also voiced during the MXCAB community input process. Mental health issues have skyrocketed since the pandemic, and this is a critical area to intervene to promote wellness, belonging, and stability for our youth, amidst significant gaps and disparities in school-based mental health supports.

Young adults up to age 26: Young people have been experiencing increased symptoms of anxiety and depression since the onset of the pandemic, especially in African-American and Latino communities. Young adults are living with stress, anxiety, and depression, exacerbated by family hardships and uncertainty about their future. Systemic injustices, including the disproportionate engagement of Black and Brown youth and young adults in the carceral system, deeply impact the need for mental health services for this population. The disproportionate impact of Covid on these populations has both created and heightened mental health challenges. Culturally responsive, community-provided mental health services can help young adults chart a clearer path to a thriving future.

The best way to ensure young adults are not incarcerated is to improve our schools; increase access to healthcare, including mental health; strengthen social networks; and expand economic opportunity. Young adults who don’t receive preventative mental health services often become part of the school to prison pipeline. According to the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition’s Services not Cells 2017 report, the detention of people with mental illness is a national crisis. Young adults with severe mental illness disproportionately suffer from homelessness, unemployment, lack of health insurance, substance abuse, and arrest. Although the vast majority of people experiencing mental illness are not violent, when they are detained, they suffer irreparable harms and often endure longer sentences than people who do not experience mental illness.

LGBTQI+ residents: A report by the National Institutes of Health found that, due to stigma and discrimination, LGBTQI+ people experience poorer mental health outcomes than heterosexual and cisgender community members. Testimony provided to MXCAB by the Rainbow Community Center emphasized that the growth in the number of hate crimes targeting LGBTQI+ residents, added to an already-hostile environment experienced in the workplace, schools, and other community spaces, has led to an unprecedented and rapidly increasing number of LGBTQI+ residents seeking mental health support from trusted, community-based organizations.

Guaranteed income pilot programs

Guaranteed income consists of unconditional, unrestricted cash payments distributed to a defined population for a set period of time. Payments made to participants typically range from $300 to $1,800 a month for periods of six months to three years. Pilots, which now number in the hundreds, have focused specifically on Black mothers, foster youth, unhoused or unstably housed individuals and families, students, formerly incarcerated individuals, and economically marginalized individuals in specific catchment areas. These pilots have explicitly referenced and attempted to ameliorate the effects of generational poverty, the trauma of racial discrimination, and the deliberate under-resourcing of low-income communities and those of Color. Guaranteed income addresses the inherent violence of poverty and the interface of barriers, vulnerabilities, harms, and negative outcomes that accrue with it. Economic security lays the groundwork for a healthy life and community: elevated well-being, safe and stable housing, strong family networks, food security and enhanced nutrition, pathways to better employment and educational outcomes, and an abundance of intangible rewards and reliefs. Guaranteed income is a critical intervention, but it is just one part of broader systemic changes that must happen to shift resources more robustly, swiftly, and consistently to points of need and channels of prevention.

One of MXCAB’s goals is to support innovative and transformational ideas. Guaranteed income is equity-based, data-driven, and prevention-focused. It responds to the immediacy and urgency of residents’ uplifted needs. Declining social mobility, widening income inequality, and rising living costs are impoverishing individuals, straining families, and fragmenting communities within our county. The pandemic widened existing inequities and created new ones, and our region’s recovery has been drastically uneven across population sectors, as evidenced by the Bay Area Equity Atlas’s January 2023 report to the Board of Supervisors.

Data from dozens of guaranteed income pilots around the country, targeted toward diverse populations, show uniformly positive impacts on health, belonging, and self-worth, among other concrete achievements, like paying off debt, boosting savings, and securing better jobs. Aside from providing for people’s basic needs, these regular, unconditional payments are also building people up in other ways—through self-care; educational advancement; and time off from work to attend an interview for a better job, chaperone a child’s school field trip, or volunteer. Investing in and empowering individuals’ economic security also helps to build stronger, more cohesive communities. We believe it is urgent and timely for Contra Costa County to invest Measure X funds to support additional guaranteed income pilot programs in our county.

Services for older adults and disabled residents

MXCAB believes that to serve underserved populations, it is vital to focus on supporting the fastest growing segment of our population: older adults and people with disabilities. In 2010, the California Department of Finance released projections for age demographics in Contra Costa for the next fifty years. These numbers, coupled with the recent findings that the largest growing unhoused population in Contra Costa is older adults, make these investments imperative

In 2015, Contra Costa aging- and disability-focused nonprofits, government agencies, for-profit providers, and community members began to develop an Aging Policy Platform for Contra Costa County. That work culminated in a four-year plan, with a focus on services that allow everyone to age in place. The plan was presented to the Board of Supervisors, who adopted the recommended policy priorities and subsequently incorporated them into the County’s state and Federal legislative platforms.

In 2019, the Advisory Council on Aging (ACOA), in partnership with Choice in Aging, convened a broad array of aging and disability communities and service providers to begin working on a statewide Master Plan for Aging (MPA). In subsequent years, as the plan was being developed at the state level, the ACOA and Choice in Aging continued to bring together a range of stakeholders to help identify and prioritize the areas most important to our aging and disability community.

Once the State’s Master Plan for Aging was released in January 2021, the Contra Costa Area Agency on Aging began working with the ACOA and Choice in Aging to assume leadership of the Master Plan for Aging’s local implementation, including continuing to engage diverse stakeholders throughout the county. They were able to combine the analysis of stakeholder feedback with their four-year Area Plan and compile a comprehensive field of data to use for service gap identification and delivery mapping.

Contra Costa MPA’s work is centered on equity and prioritization of the most historically underserved populations, coupled with a deep community engagement process, in alignment with MXCAB’s core values. The Aging & Adult Services Division is poised to distribute any newly allocated Measure X funding quickly to an existing

More info:

Board of Supervisors Meeting
Tuesday, December 12, 2023
9:00 AM
1025 Escobar Street, Martinez CA
Full Agenda – click here

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