As a long-time resident of Santa Monica and the retired head of a Santa Monica non-profit (Center for Healthy Aging), I want to voice my concerns about the proposed cut to the City of Santa Monica Human Services Grants Program. I am especially concerned about senior services provided by WISE &Healthy Aging but, also, the other non-profit organizations that serve the City’s vulnerable residents. An across-the-board budget cut will do harm that may not soon be resolved.

While I understand the need to respond to the current economic and public health crisis, this is hardly the time to decrease services that contribute so significantly to the health and well-being of a highly at-risk population like the elderly. Specifically, for WISE & Healthy Aging alone, the funding cut would impact six programs: Adult Day Care, Care Management, Congregate Meals, Oasis, Transportation and Peer Counseling. These are ESSENTIAL services!

The fact that the current funding cycle is no different from the previous four-year cycle plus the addition of the required 25% match, puts this organization—and the other Santa Monica non-profits—in an extremely difficult position. The negative impact of this budget cut on WISE & Healthy Aging and the other non-profit agencies and their clients, far outweighs the savings to the City. Surely there are other available strategies than reducing the FY2020-21 funding of the Human Service Grants Program for those in need.

I happen to know that seniors attempted to contact the City Council about this cut, but many do not have computers and, with the Public Library closed, did not have access to any. Attempts to call City Hall on the afternoon of the Council meeting resulted in being put on hold so long they eventually hung up. Since Council Members are sheltered at home, it’s unlikely that many letters reached them.

At a time when many people are scared, confused, isolated, lonely, in need of health and mental health care, and all the attention possible in this environment of separation, let’s not decrease the ability to provide assistance to them. Keep the FY2020-21 Human Services Grants Program as it is and utilize the time to work with the Santa Monica non-profit community to develop a viable plan for the future.


Monika White, PhD

Santa Monica

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  1. At a time when older adults are even more isolated, lonely and medically vulnerable than usual, it is unconscionable to cut the critical funding that will help address these important issues.

  2. I have no doubt that the City leadership is pondering the concern of Dr White in this article as well as other items before the leadership. I used the word item as this is how concerns are listed on agendas. However, sometimes items like those concerns here have to an require special attention as we all know there are human lives at stake, and so is our humanity depending how these issues are resolved in difficult times. Inanimate items vs. our human needs items commands the leadership to laser in on the human needs with balance so that when look back at what we have done we can look at ourselves to know we acted with compassion for others given we do not walk in their shoes.
    Darrell Goode

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