Homelessness Takes Center Stage on Los Angeles Ballot

“It seems to me if the people of the County of Los Angeles vote for measure H, we would have a very, very significant opportunity to reduce, combat and prevent homelessness. That’s what we are attempting to do,” said supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

Homeless man downtown Los Angeles

Homeless men downtown Los Angeles • Photo by L. Johnson

Angelinos head to the poll to make decision on a list of propositions and measures, including Measure H. This measure needs 66% votes to pass and promises to do a lot to help combat the growing homeless crisis in Los Angeles.

Measure H would generate approximately $355 million annually for ten years through a ¼ cent County sales tax, to be used exclusively on proven efforts that reduce and prevent homelessness, including mental health, housing services, job counseling and substance abuse treatment.

It would help approximately 45,000 families and individuals move from homelessness to permanent housing in the measure’s first five years–and enable 30,000 more to avoid becoming homeless.

It will also directly benefit children, foster youth, seniors, battered women, disabled individuals, veterans, other homeless adults, as well as provide essential services to successfully transition homeless people into voter-approved housing to be constructed within the City of Los Angeles. It would also ensure accountability through independent Citizen’s Oversight and annual audits.

At the recent annual homeless initiative conference held in February, downtown Los Angeles at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was a featured speaker and spoke briefly with CaribPress about Measure H.

“It seems to me if the people of the county of Los Angeles vote for Measure H, we would have a very, very significant opportunity to reduce, combat and prevent homelessness and that’s what we are attempting to do,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, when asked how he plans to battle the homelessness crisis.  “It’s a significant opportunity and I am very encouraged by the energy and presence, the depth and breath of the advocates. My colleagues are all over this issue as well, it feels good, it feels very promising and it feels right. No one deserved to be homeless and we can do something to change these conditions initially.”

Asked why now, Ridley-Thomas says, “because it’s getting worse, if not now it would ruin the day.”

Other featured speakers at the 1st annual homeless initiative conference includes, Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of LA; Mayor James Butts, City of Inglewood; County Supervisor Janice Hahn, SD4; Mayor Joe Vinatieri, City of Whittier; County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, SD5; Mayor R. Rex Parris, City of Lancaster; County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, SD3; Mayor Ted Winterer, City of Santa Monica and other elected officials, police chief, LAHSA, HAColA, CSH other businesses representatives.

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