Neighborhood Councils are the closest form of government to the people. They are advisory bodies, who advocate for their communities with City Hall on important issues like development, homelessness, and emergency preparedness. Neighborhood Councils are part of the Los Angeles City government, and have annual budgets funded by taxpayer dollars. Neighborhood Council board members are City officials who are elected by the members of their local communities, but they donate their time as volunteers. The Neighborhood Council system was established in 1999 as a way of ensuring that the City government remains responsive to the different needs and lifestyles of Los Angeles’ rich variety of communities. There are currently 99 Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles, each serving about 40,000 people.