The West Hollywood City Council unanimously approved contracts totaling $4,250,000 for social services with 33 different agencies for 2013-2014 during its Monday night meeting, but two of those agencies will be funded in an unusual way.
Social services contracts typically provide a certain amount of money in hopes the agencies will reach a contract-specified number of West Hollywood residents. But two substance abuse treatment and recovery centers will be paid only as residents use their services. The Substance Abuse Foundation of Long Beach and the Tarzana Treatment Center, both first-time contractors with the city, will be paid on a per resident, per night basis out of a maximum pool of $125,000 available to them.
“Tarzana [Treatment Center] is pretty experimental,” said social services manager Daphne Dennis. “If people don’t use it, no problem. If people do use the beds, then we’ll have to look at increasing the funding.”
Dennis said the city had only taken this per-resident-per-night payment approach once before, years ago with a hospice service, and it was unsuccessful. However, Dennis said currently the demand for detox services is high.
Human Services Commissioner Jimmy Palmieri, who also works with the anti-methamphetamine support group The Tweakers Project, said the Tarzana Treatment Center was a good program and the experiment could likely be successful.
“We’ve got four Tweakers members at Tarzana right now,” Palmieri said. “They’re a good facility.”
Under the agreement with the city, both Tarzana Treatment and the Substance Abuse Foundation of Long Beach will pick residents up and transport them to their facilities. They will be paid at the Los Angeles County-approved per-bed-per-night rate.
Councilmember John Duran wished the two facilities were closer to West Hollywood and hoped they might open satellite facilities if residents do use them. Up until its closure last year, many locals detoxed at the Thalians Community Mental Health Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
The total of $4,250,000 in contracts is higher than last year’s $3,869,000. That higher budget comes from a two percent cost-of-living increase plus an additional $250,000 overall increase.
The Human Services Commission approved the budget in July after two months of public hearings on the contracts. The council approved the commission’s budget exactly as presented without making any changes. All the contracts run Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2014.
In addition to Tarzana Treatment and the Substance Abuse Foundation, four other organizations received funding for the first time:
- Frontiers Foundation got $25,000 for training and placing interns in social services organizations.
- Housing Works got $60,000 to work with chronically homeless people with disabilities.
- LA Gay and Lesbian Center Seniors program got $59,600 to work with LGBT clients over 50.
- Los Angeles HIV Law & Policy Project got $25,000 to work on legal needs of people with HIV/AIDS
These groups got increased funding this year:
- AIDS Project Los Angeles: Positive Self Management program ($20,000 more)
- Friends Research Institute: HIV Education through Street Outreach ($2,000 more).
- Jewish Family Services comprehensive services ($20,000 more).
- Jewish Family Service nutrition program ($26,000 more).
- LA Gay and Lesbian Center: Sexual Health Program ($40,000 more).
- LA Gay and Lesbian Center: Child, Youth and Family Services ($25,000 more).
- McIntyre House substance abuse recovery center ($11,000 more).
- National Council on Jewish Women; Women Helping Women Program ($57,000 more).
Meanwhile, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Legal Services program saw its funding completely eliminated as it did not meet its contracted number of West Hollywood residents, a problem it has had for several years. Last year, it received $25,000 from the city.
Also, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s WeHo Life HIV prevention program budget was cut by $5,000 from $130,000 to $125,000 but no reason was given for the cut.
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) also saw its contract with the city cut by $40,000 from $340,000 to $300,000 and its urgent funds budget cut from $10,000 to $5,000. No definitive reason was given for the cut, but PATH has long been criticized for failing to properly serve West Hollywood residents.