After an alternative parcel tax plan to address homelessness in the City of Los Angeles was referred back to Committee, the Los Angeles City Council put all its support firmly behind a $1.2 billion homeless bond for the November, 8, 2016 election. Today was the last day the Council could have taken action to place the parcel tax plan on the November ballot.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the City Council took two historic votes to place the $1.2 billion bond measure on the November ballot, which guarantees that 80% of the generated funds will go to housing and facilities for the homeless, with 20% going to affordable housing for low-income residents to prevent them from falling into homelessness.
The homelessness bond measure was first proposed by the Council’s Homelessness & Poverty Committee Chair and Vice Chair, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and José Huizar. Council President Herb Wesson, who worked with Huizar, Harris-Dawson and others to form that committee and create a Citywide homeless strategy, Chairs the Council’s Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations & Neighborhoods Committee, which has taken two affirmative votes in recent days to move forward with the proposal. Harris-Dawson and Huizar also serve on the Rules committee.
“I’ve been vocal in my support of the homelessness bond measure,” said Councilmember Huizar. “It gives us the best opportunity to provide housing, which is a critical element in addressing homelessness, while giving us the opportunity to partner with our County, State, Federal, private and non-profit partners to provide the wrap-around services that we need to be effective. Our Homelessness & Poverty Committee and the City Council have been working on this for a year and we are now asking the voters to help us address the No. 1 issue we all face. The sea of despair that we see on our streets everyday is the moral dilemma of our time – we need to solve it.”
“We cannot continue to call ourselves a just society while thousands of homeless Angelenos sleep on the streets,” said L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr. “I am certain this measure will not only bring relief to those craving shelter but also provide financial protections for taxpayers.”
“Today’s vote demonstrates a united way forward and a historic moment for the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “I have supported the bond and today my colleagues agreed that this is the best way to ensure that money is no longer an obstacle to effectively tackle homelessness. There was a robust public process, in multiple committees, and now the public will have an opportunity to invest in the solution.”
The City’s adopted Comprehensive Homeless Strategy estimated that at least $1.85 billion is needed to fund housing for the City's homeless residents, with $1.1 billion in construction funding needed toward the identified need of 10,000 units of supportive housing for people who are homeless in the City today.