LA votes to put homeless housing measure on November ballot

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After months of meetings and crunching numbers, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a resolution to place a bond measure on the November ballot to pay for homeless housing.

The council voted 14-0 on Wednesday to put a measure on the November ballot to provide a decade's worth of money for shelters, permanent housing, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health services to the homeless.

City officials say there are approximately 27,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, an increase of nearly 5,000 since 2013.

"Every night in Los Angeles, tens of thousands of Angelenos - men, women, children, veterans, and seniors - sleep on our streets," Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement praising the council decision. "This crisis is pervasive, it endangers public health and stifles economic prosperity."

This potential housing project would cost just over $1 billion.

"We're asking the voters to support us in moving forward with providing more than $1.2 billion to support building more permanent supportive housing," L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar said.

According to the Los Angeles Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, this housing bond wouldn't break the bank for taxpayers.

Santana, who said the average home in Los Angeles is assessed at $327,900, said the cost will be $44.31 for the average property owner.

"This is the most substantial piece of legislation, solution that is in place to actually get people who are living on the streets into housing," L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said.

The L.A. City Council has a backup plan in place with a parcel tax proposal, expected to be discussed on Wednesday.

An alternative funding method would be to create a parcel tax on property improvements that could raise around $90 million a year over 10 years. The City Council postponed, until at least Friday, a decision on whether to put that measure on the November ballot.

The final decision between the two funding proposals will be made by mid-August, but officials are indicating that they plan to go with the homeless housing bond measure in November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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