About 1,000 people packed a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors hearing Thursday to request funding for Hope in Youth, but board members made it clear that they are unlikely to support long-term financing for the anti-gang program.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, however, placed an item on next week's agenda so that the board can decide whether to grant the year-old program $350,000 to remain active for another month.
Hope in Youth, which got $2.9 million from the county last year, has asked for $1.9 million so the group can continue staffing centers until June. But the county is facing its own potential budget shortfall of $200 million to $1 billion.
"We all know you are suffering with severe budgetary constraints," Bishop Frederick Borsch told the board. "But this is an extraordinarily cost-effective program. It would be unwise to spend (money) to train workers and put them into the field and then dash those hopes by not continuing the funding."
Although the effectiveness of Hope in Youth in fighting the county's gang problem has been questioned, Yaroslavsky said the issue was purely financial.