In November 2016, voters in Los Angeles City overwhelmingly approved Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion housing bond to build up to 10,000 units of housing, by a margin of 76%. This result confirmed what we at the Downtown Women’s Center already knew: LA voters care deeply about the thousands of Angelenos living in cars, on our streets, and in shelters. But it also confirmed something more: LA voters don’t just care about homelessness; they believe we can end it. And together, we made a statement that we plan to do just that.
But there was more work to be done. Building the housing is the first step, but wraparound services are what keep someone housed.
Thanks to your votes, passion, and incredible advocacy, Measure H was officially approved by a 69.2% margin of approval. This momentous accomplishment means Los Angeles is now on its way to making history in preventing and ending homelessness: Measure H will generate $355 million per year over a 10-year period to provide supportive services, such as mental and physical healthcare, substance use treatment, case management, job training, and trauma recovery services. This funding will make it possible to end homelessness for 45,000 individuals across LA County. It will prevent an additional 30,000 from falling into homelessness.
Now, the County is in the process of dividing Measure H revenue across the various strategies outlined in the Homeless Initiative, hiring additional staff and contractors, and establishing a data-collection process to track the initiative's success. A Citizens' Oversight Advisory Board, comprised of five members to be appointed by the Board of Supervisors, will review all Measure H expenditures, publish an annual report of all funding allocations, and submit regular evaluations to the County. A Measure H planning committee, comprised of homelessness and housing policy experts, representatives from various County departments, individuals with homelessness experience, and other community members, will work to develop recommendations for how this funding will be utilized. We will be at the table to ensure women are represented in these plans, and we will continue to work with City and County officials identify new opportunities to advocate for women.
The results of Measure H aren’t the only good news to come out of this election. Measure S, the anti-development initiative in LA City, failed to pass, garnering just 31.2% of voters’ support. If passed, Measure S would have imposed a two-year moratorium on nearly all housing development in LA City, including nine out of 10 proposed plans for affordable developments funded by Prop HHH. The measure’s failure means LA City residents voted for a diverse, welcoming, compassionate city rather than one that is exclusive and unaffordable. Future affordable and permanent supportive housing development will not be beholden to the unrealistic restrictions the measure sought to impose, such as banning any project requiring a general plan amendment. Now, housing promised under Prop HHH will be developed as planned. What’s more, the City is free to reform its development system in ways that will benefit the community, not irreparably harm it.
In a time of political and socioeconomic uncertainty in the United States, it is heartening to see grassroots activists, community members, service providers, and elected officials come together at a local level to affect positive change. Let’s keep the momentum going! There is no better time than now to get involved, to stand with the women who’ve been silenced for so long, and to keep fighting to end homelessness for good.
ADVOCATE: As plans for Measure H and Proposition HHH funding continue to unfold, DWC will remain diligent in identifying opportunities to advocate for women. Stay in the loop by following us on social media using the handle @DWCWeb.
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