County’s $8.5 Billion Budget Reflects New Direction With Funding For Environment, Homelessness & Behavioral Health

News Date

Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today passed its $8.5 billion fiscal year 2024-2025 budget. After today’s vote, the Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors issued the following statement:

“This budget reflects the new, proactive direction our County has been heading for the last three and a half years, since I was elected” said Supervisor Lawson-Remer, Vice-Chair of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “When you look beyond the dollar figures you see a budget that prioritizes the environment, that addresses homelessness, and expands opportunities for mental health and addiction treatment.

“With this budget we'll continue to upgrade the County’s stormwater infrastructure to protect the local water supply and prevent pollution and toxic runoff from contaminating our beaches, bays and coastlines; and keep leading the fight to clean up the Tijuana River Sewage crisis.

“We’ll also be able to continue tackling the homeless crisis with innovative thinking to clean-up streets, clear encampments, and get people the help they need and into supportive housing; and combat the illegal opioid crisis by increasing fentanyl enforcement, prevention and addiction treatment programs.”

The budget includes many significant investments county wide, including in Supervisorial District 3, which spans from Carlsbad to Coronado. Those investments include the following: 

Infrastructure Investments: Roads, libraries, parks and other community enhancements.

  • An investment of $2.5 million to revitalize the Mira Mesa Epicentre, an existing facility that will be transformed to offer innovative youth programming, enhance recreation and entertainment opportunities, and increase public safety in the community.

  • An additional investment of $4.5 million for a total of $65.5 million to maintain 2,000 miles of roadways in the unincorporated area. In District 3, there are 91.02 miles of roadway, with an investment of $3.1 million for maintenance and resurfacing.

  • District 3 is home to 15 County parks and 1 community garden, part of $33.5 million total investment to operate 157 park facilities, 58,000 acres of parkland and 389 miles of trails throughout the region.

  • McClellan-Palomar Airport is located in District 3, one of eight County airports that will receive a $2.7 million increase for a total of $27.7 million for operations, including travel and emergency support during wildfires.

  • District 3 has 5 County libraries, with an overall $569,000 increase to operate 33 branch libraries, 4 electric bookmobiles and 5 automated book kiosks, as well as $12.4 million to curate all library materials, digital and print.

Environmental Sustainability: Protecting the natural environment for future generations.

  • $18.2 million increase to protect the region’s watershed and for new green infrastructure projects.

  • $2.1 million increase to update the Climate Action Plan.

  • $2 million to plant 4,000 new trees on County property to lower greenhouse gases.

  • $1.8 million for installing new electric vehicle charging stations available to the public.

  • $1 million to advance the Zero Carbon Portfolio Plan to reduce carbon emissions from County facilities by 90% by 2030.

Behavioral Health: Mental health and substance use treatment.

  • Ongoing $65.2 million investment into the operation of the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital, which anchors the region’s acute mental health care system.

  • $25 million to expand and support the public behavioral health workforce, which includes the development of a new training and tuition program.

  • $28 million increase for substance use residential and outpatient services.

  • $15 million increase to implement Senate Bill 43, a new state law supporting involuntary behavioral health treatment to connect those with severe mental illness to appropriate care options.

  • More than $4 million increase for youth suicide prevention.

Homelessness: Access to shelter, housing and other services to ensure people have a safe place to live.

  • Investing $6.2 million into homeless outreach and housing assistance to people living unsheltered along the San Diego River.

  • $500-a-month Pilot Shallow Rental Subsidy Program continues for nearly 400 older adults who are at risk of homelessness, rent-burdened and in need of financial aid.

  • Publish dashboards to increase public awareness on progress toward Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Action Plan goals.

  • More than $2 million for homeless encampment cleanup in parks and other County-owned areas in the region to maintain safe and sanitary conditions.

  • (Regional Budget Item) $98.7 million total to support people at risk for homelessness, immigrant and refugee communities and other vulnerable groups to promote equity for all in the region.

    • $15 million for the Regional Homeless Assistance Program.

    • $7.8 million increase to help people experiencing homelessness in the San Diego and Sweetwater riverbeds.

    • A second safe parking site is expected to open in summer 2024, expanding emergency sheltering options for the unincorporated communities.

Housing: Housing opportunities to meet community needs.

  • District 3 is home to 2 County-funded affordable housing developments with 78 units and another 5 developments, with 270 units planned or under construction.

  • $30.1 million to build new housing by creating affordable housing programs and removing barriers to housing through things like guaranteed construction plan review times for 100% affordable housing projects.

  • (Regional Budget Item) $90.9 million total for Housing and Community Development Services to provide housing resources for vulnerable populations, develop affordable and supportive housing and help achieve self-sufficiency for families.

    • $10.6 million in new funding for the Innovative Housing Trust Fund to help build affordable housing.

    • $2.4 million increase to boost multifamily rental housing in the unincorporated area.

    • $500-a-month rental subsidy continues for nearly 400 older adults who are at risk of homelessness, rent-burdened and in need of financial aid.

Public Safety: Law enforcement and fire protection.

  • $500,000 for the Gun Violence Prevention Program.

  • County Fire helps reduce the potential for fire spread by performing approximately 50 defensible space inspections in District 3 each year.

  • County Emergency Medical Services provides ambulance services to the District 3 communities of Del Mar, Del Mar Heights, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and portions of Elfin Forest.

  • $30 million to support community safety in District 3 including the Sheriff’s North Coastal Station in District 3 that serves the unincorporated communities of Rancho Santa Fe, Del Dios, Camp Pendleton and San Onofre and parts of 4S Ranch, as well as department contracted services in the cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar.

Support Services: Nutrition, health, financial and other programs to help vulnerable individuals and families.

  • The Older Californians Nutrition program provides 423,500 congregate dining meals at 28 sites including 1 in District 3.

  • Provide self-sufficiency services such as CalFresh, CalWorks and Medi-Cal to 115,293 residents in District 3.

  • $5 million for the Immigrant Rights Legal Defense program to provide free legal help for eligible immigrants, expanding a pilot program to help detained immigrants facing removal proceedings or deportation.

  • $1.3 million for the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement to work with communities and businesses to improve labor standards, ensure compliance and support wage theft victims.

  • $1.3 million and three full-time employees for Animal Services, which includes a mobile veterinary clinic for underserved areas in the unincorporated area in addition to the shelter in District 3 in Carlsbad, and a shelter in Bonita.

  • Funding from Child Support Services to support the financial, emotional and physical well-being of more than 3,700 families in District 3.

Public Health & Protection: Keeping communities health and preventing illness.

  • Medical Care Services is leading the Board’s Recuperative Care initiative to invest $8 million in capital to increase the capacity of recuperative care beds to create more options for discharging patients from the hospital.

  • Continued funding to build a new $92 million, state-of-the-art public health lab expected to open in 2025.

  • $1.5 million for testing and reporting beach and bay water quality

Justice Reform: Transforming the justice system to ensure equity and accountability.

  • $1.1 million for SD nights, a collaboration with cities to offer free in-person and virtual activities for youth during critical hours after school.