Historic vote puts millions of Measure H dollars to work
Audience cheers the Board's unanimous vote to fund a broad range of measures to combat and prevent homelessness.
Los Angeles County Supervisors today unanimously approved a spending package to deploy more than $1 billion in Measure H funds into local communities over the next three years—a key milestone in the county’s ambitious commitment to combatting homelessness.
The Board’s action came after an unprecedented, collaborative planning process in which 50 diverse public/private stakeholders came together to develop a series of recommendations for the use of funding authorized by Measure H—the 10-year, ¼-cent sales tax passed by 69.34% of voters in March, 2017.
The landmark funding plan commits nearly $259 million to combat homelessness in the next fiscal year beginning July 1, and tentatively earmarks more than $1 billion to the effort over the next three fiscal years.
“This is a signal day in the County of L.A,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board chairman and leading proponent of Measure H, said during a well-attended public meeting leading up to the vote. “The community stepped up and now we have an obligation to step up.”
He said the plan approved by the Board is well thought-out, but also flexible and geared toward getting results.
Following testimony by more than 100 speakers, other supervisors highlighted the collaborative process leading to this point.
“All of us come at this from different prisms. But I think at the end of the day, we developed a beautiful rainbow and the light shines. And today that light is shining on the County of Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.
“This is an unprecedented commitment in the County,” added Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “It’s about partnership with those who are homeless in finding the solutions for them.”
Supervisor Janice Hahn said that more essential collaboration lies ahead. “We all have to work together,” Hahn said. “Every city, every unincorporated area, every neighborhood really needs to step up and say, ‘This is our moment.’ ”
“There are many out there who are one paycheck away from being homeless,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger added. “We have an obligation to work together to end homelessness.”
In its first five years, Measure H aims to help 45,000 families and individuals escape homelessness and to enable 30,000 others to stay housed. The expanded funding comes as the latest Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found a 23% increase in homelessness in L.A. County over the past year—underscoring the urgency of the crisis and need for action.
The funding approved by the Board of Supervisors targets 21 interconnected strategies specifically funded by Measure H. Among the key elements are programs to significantly increase outreach, crisis/bridge housing, permanent housing, and homelessness prevention.
In addition, the Board approved motions to track progress toward Measure H goals and analyze the latest Homeless Count data; use Homeless Count data in funding distribution; create a women’s crisis housing program; give partner cities more flexibility in using Measure H dollars; and assist homeless college students. Other motions were approved that would explore childcare for homeless families and resources for transition-age youth.
To ensure effectiveness and public accountability, Measure H efforts will be assessed annually by an independent evaluator, and spending will be reviewed each year by an independent auditor. Measure H will work in tandem with Proposition HHH, the bond measure approved by voters in the city of Los Angeles to fund construction of housing for the homeless.
Los Angeles County’s groundbreaking Homeless Initiative was created by the Board of Supervisors in August, 2015. The strategies funded by Measure H were part of a broader action plan approved by the Board last year. Under the direction of the County’s Chief Executive Office, the initiative works across boundaries and involves multiple County departments and partners including service providers, faith organizations, local governments and business groups.
For more information on the County’s Homeless Initiative, go to http://homeless.lacounty.gov/.
A series of videos produced by the County to document the homeless crisis and highlight solutions is at https://vimeo.com/channels/lachomeless