The National Association of Counties’ forum “Working Together to End Homelessness: A Discussion of Local and National Efforts to Combat Homelessness” on April 25 highlighted Los Angeles County’s efforts to end homelessness.
Los Angeles County was home to approximately 40% of the statewide homeless population in 2016. In March 2017, voters approved Measure H, a 0.25 cent special sales tax lasting ten years to fund efforts to address homelessness. An estimated $355 million per year will be raised to implement the county’s strategies, including homelessness prevention, subsidized housing, efforts to increase incomes, case management and services, new affordable housing, and the creation of a coordinated service-delivery system.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, board of supervisors chairman for the County of Los Angeles, spoke about the difficulties in passing the measure and the collaborative efforts that were necessary to ensure its approval. “Our county has a disjointed geography,” said Mr. Ridley-Thomas, “which made collaboration difficult. However, seven out of ten voters came out to approve only this measure. That speaks volumes of its importance to them.”
Measure H is projected to help 45,000 individuals and families escape homelessness in the first five years, while preventing homelessness for 30,000 additional families and individuals.