Los Angeles County Registrar Certifies Signatures for Homelessness Ballot Measure, Say Backers

Los Angeles County Registrar Certifies Signatures for Homelessness Ballot Measure, Say Backers

People pass homeless individuals in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service
City News Service

6/19/2024

Updated: 6/19/2024

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LOS ANGELES—A proposed ballot measure that would repeal Los Angeles County’s quarter-cent sales tax for homelessness-prevention measures and replace it with an indefinite half-cent sales tax to be used for the same purpose moved closer to a November vote June 18.
According to supporters of the Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now measure, the county Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office certified that enough valid signatures had been collected to qualify the measure for the ballot.
Supporters of the measure said last month they submitted more than 410,000 petition signatures, well above the required 238,922.
With signatures verified, the issue will move to the Board of Supervisors next week. The board will have the choice of placing the initiative on the November ballot or enacting the measure as written without a public vote.
The proposed ballot measure would repeal Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax approved by county voters in 2017, and replace it with a half-cent sales tax to create a dedicated stream of revenue to address homelessness. Measure H had a 10-year lifespan, meaning it is set to expire in 2027.
The new proposed measure, if approved by voters, would not have a sunset date.
Backers say the new initiative would be a game changer for the county and its approach to addressing the homelessness crisis. Proponents have said the measure would produce $1.2 billion annually.
The coalition of supporters includes more than 80 organizations such as the L.A. County Federation of Labor, California Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, SEIU 721, among others.
They aim to focus more funding generated by the half-cent sales tax to build more affordable housing, increase access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and bolster accountability measures—including a legal requirement to deliver results.
The proposed ballot measure notes that 60 percent of the revenue would cover costs for homelessness services and 15 percent of that would be distributed to cities based on the annual point-in-time count of homeless people. Another 35.75 percent would support the L.A. County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency, which was created last year by the state Legislature to oversee homeless solutions.
“We need to fundamentally change how we approach our homelessness and housing crisis, and this measure does that by focusing on mental health care, housing affordability and legal requirements that we see results,” Miguel Santana, CEO of the California Community Foundation and a former Los Angeles city administrative officer, said in a statement.
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