Los Angeles County Affordable Housing, Homeless Sales Tax Heads to Ballot

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to send a measure to the November election that would double the county’s homeless sales tax to a half-cent to fund housing and community services. homeless.

If approved by voters, it will replace Measure Ha quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2017 and set to expire in 2027.

THE replacement measure – officially called the Affordable Housing, Homeless Solutions and Prevention Now measure – qualified for last week’s ballot thanks to its supporters collection more than 390,000 signatures. Dean Logan, the county registrar, predicted that about three-quarters of them were valid, more than enough to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

On Tuesday, the board voted 4-0 to place the measure on the ballot without making any changes. Supervisor Janice Hahn was not present.

“We’re nowhere near enough housing for low- and middle-income Angelenos,” board President Lindsey Horvath said at Tuesday’s meeting. “There’s no time to lose.”

Money from the tax, estimated at about $1.2 billion a year, would go toward affordable housing, mental health care and substance abuse treatment, among other homeless services. It would also require tax-funded programs to conduct audits and set goals to ensure money goes to initiatives most likely to get people off the streets.

Supporters said at Tuesday’s meeting that they have learned lessons from Measure H and believe this new sales tax will stretch dollars more efficiently. It would also make the tax indefinite, repealed only by a subsequent vote.

“The crisis we are facing today is not due to lack of effort,” Miguel Santana, CEO of the California Community Foundation, told the board. “This will bring systemic and responsible change in the long term. »

Facing voters furious over lack of progress on homeless crisis, county supervisors touted success of Measure H, saying it injected cash into the county that kept more than 30,000 people from becoming homeless and placed more than 100,000 people in permanent housing.

“We have the receipts,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell.

The measure is supported by a coalition of housing providers and labor groups, including SEIU 721 and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. Yvonne Wheeler, president of the federation, told supervisors she believed the tax would create more affordable housing for workers and better protect them from eviction.

No one spoke out against the opposition on Tuesday, although some experts predicted there may be anti-tax groups that oppose this measure.

“I want to remind you all that there is still a lot of work to be done to pass this in November,” Dexter O’Connell, director of homeless service provider Safe Place for, told the board. Youth.

California Daily Newspapers

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