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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Free senior meal delivery program very likely to end as funding request stalls

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A senior food program in Los Angeles is coming to an end.

The Los Angeles Department of Aging’s free senior meal delivery program, the Rapid Response Senior Meals Program (RRSMP), will end on August 31, as reported by LAist.

On July 2, the Los Angeles City Council voted and unanimously passed a request for a report from the Department of Aging and the City Administrative Officer (CAO), which was introduced in May by Councilmember Heather Hutt of District 10. At the time, Hutt had also requested $12 million from the council’s Budget, Finance, and Innovation Committee to maintain the program.

However, “a last-ditch effort to secure additional funding for the RRSMP failed to make it through the LA City Council,” the media outlet said, “officials bounced it back to committee, citing budgetary process and cost concerns.”

Meal: Senior Takes Several Meals From Volunteer
Additional funding requested by Councilmember Heather Hutt of District 10 has referred back to the budget and finance committee, signaling an end to senior food delivery program.

 

Some councilmembers reportedly objected to Hutt’s proposal, citing its exorbitant cost.

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield of District 3 said it should be referred back to the Budget, Finance, and Innovation Committee because it would disrupt the budgeting process and cut other city services.

Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who is also the Council President, said appropriating such a substantial amount of money in that manner could violate state law.

“However we feel about the benefits of this spending, it is almost certainly a violation of the Brown Act to vote on spending $12 million that was not previously agendized,” he said.

As a result, the $12 million for the program will be sent back to the budget and finance committee for further discussion. The report request passed today also directs a study on the feasibility of extending the RRSMP, but it is not clear whether the program can be extended in the face of imminent elimination.

While there are a number of efforts being made by the LA City Council to prevent the program’s termination, including studies to extend the program and a request for additional funding, there currently is no concrete plan to save it.

“Los Angeles has the highest number of food insecure seniors in the country,” said Dominic Engels, CEO of Revolution Foods, which has partnered with the city to feed seniors through the RRSMP. “No senior should ever go hungry,” he said, urging the city council to address the issue as soon as possible.

BY KYEONGJUN KIM, HOONSIK WOO [kim.kyeongjun1@koreadaily.com]