By Peter Noonan, AICP CEP
Editor’s note: The American Planning Association Los Angeles Section has not taken a formal position on Measure H, and the opinion expressed is the author’s.
For homeless people to rebuild their lives, they need permanent housing. But the process of transitioning from being homeless back into housing is not easy, and it is not the same for everyone. People experiencing homelessness need help from a variety of service providers to overcome the challenges and isolation of life on the streets, to come back into housing, and to successfully keep their housing and thrive.
Los Angeles County is facing a homelessness crisis and a need for greater and coordinated supportive services. In response the LA County Board of Supervisors placed Measure H on the upcoming ballot. If approved, Measure H will authorize a one-quarter percent (0.25%) increase in sales tax in incorporated and unincorporated Los Angeles County. This will generate a much needed $355 million per year for 10 years to fund a coordinated countywide effort providing homeless services ranging from mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental and housing subsidies, case management and services, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services.
Measure H does not duplicate City of LA’s Proposition HHH, the bond measure approved this past November to supply more housing for the homeless in the City of Los Angeles. Instead, Measure H compliments HHH by funding the supportive services needed to transition chronically homeless people back into shelter and permanent housing.
Without the funding Measure H will provide, homelessness will continue to be a major concern in Los Angeles County. There are no easy or fast fixes for ending homelessness. But people currently experiencing homelessness are members of our community, they are our neighbors and they deserve the chance to return to safe, supportive and stable housing. On March 7, please vote YES on H. You can find more reasons to vote Yes on Measure H here.
Peter Noonan is the Rent Stabilization and Housing Manager for the City of West Hollywood.