A Critical Piece to Providing Assistance

Like many other counties throughout the country, the COVID-19 pandemic deeply impacted all aspects of the County of Los Angeles. Renters were left unable to pay their landlords, and many small businesses were on the brink of shutting down for good due to lack of revenue and extended business closures. To help save their homes, mitigate their losses, and have any chance to save their businesses, many residents looked toward their local government to provide policy guidance and financial assistance during this unprecedented time.

Within FY 2020-2021, the LACDA administered five programs for the County of Los Angeles: Child Care Provider Grant, Rent Relief, Keep LA County Dining, the Small Business Stabilization Loan, and the Small Business Grant.

To get these programs off the ground, time was of the essence. The LACDA’s Information Technology (IT) Unit collaborated with internal and external colleagues to design, develop, and launch public-facing websites, application portals, and online tutorials that would assist the public in applying for these programs.

The IT Unit built the initial website using modern development techniques that allowed for modular structure of the application. IT leveraged this technique to reuse code for future loan/grant programs to increase productivity by saving time and reducing redundancy. This approach allowed programmers to add or modify functionality to new applications.

One project, the KeepLA County Dining Grant, was completed in record time. Following a third-party vendor’s system failure, the IT Unit was tasked with developing and launching a program application that could handle the anticipated high volume of traffic upon the relaunch. Even working expeditiously, most projects of this nature take three to four weeks to complete. Within 72 hours, IT coordinated with partner agencies, developed and tested the application, and successfully launched.

Through their technical expertise, and dedication to timeliness and quality, the LACDA’s IT Unit managed to meet all deadlines for these programs and have the websites and application portal available to the public on time.

Equipping Staff for the New Normal

In July 2020, the LACDA had about 85% of its staff teleworking as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For many staff, teleworking was something new and it brought about new demands for hardware that staff needed to do their job effectively from home. As such, the IT Unit was inundated with incoming equipment requests that needed to be purchased expeditiously. Requests for laptops, printers, monitors, and other peripherals exceeded the previous fiscal year’s requests by 263%.

Throughout FY 2020-2021, IT worked to purchase, receive, and deploy 496 laptops, 294 monitors, 210 printers, and 679 docking stations. Using a negotiated contract solicited through a competitive bidding process, the procurement and IT staff rolled out the equipment and as efficiently as possible to ensure business operations and staff production were not interrupted.