Los Angeles Councilwoman Traci Park has introduced a motion to the Los Angeles City Council calling for a more equitable distribution of Measure H homeless funds as the measure approaches its expiration and possible renewal by voters.
Measure H passed with 69 percent of the vote in 2017 and established a 0.25% sales tax to provide ongoing funding to prevent and combat homelessness within the County. At the time, the measure listed a laundry list of potential uses for the money such as mental health, 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 for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults.
The County expects the measure to raise approximately $3 billion over its ten year span and according to Park, talks are already underway regarding renewing the measure in 2027.
Park’s motion calls for considering which areas are most impacted by homelessness when considering allocation of any renewed Measure H money.
“Los Angeles voters repeatedly have shown their commitment to financial measures that aim to reduce homelessness,” Councilwoman Park said in a statement. “But with the mental health and addiction crisis on our streets worse than ever, it’s clear we need to reassess how these funds are allocated.”
Park said Measure W, passed just a year after Measure H and also with 69 percent of the vote, could be a model. While Measure W established a parcel tax to fund water quality efforts, it includes a provision to allocate resources proportional to the share generated by each municipality in the county.
“We know from the most recent LAHSA point in time count that the City of Los Angeles shoulders most of the county-wide crisis, and therefore, we need to ensure that the City receives its fair share of these essential resources,” Park said.
Park also wants any renewed measure to provide greater oversight and accountability by cities in the region. “This is about fairness, transparency, and ensuring that we make the most significant impact possible on this crisis.”
The motion follows several homeless cleanups organized by Park. Most recently she worked with LAHSA, LA Sanitation, LADOT, and LAPD to clear RV encampments along Jefferson Boulevard in Playa Del Rey.
“The issues along Jefferson spiraled out of control for too long, so I’m proud of the continued progress at this environmentally sensitive location,” said Park at the time of the cleanups. “Our partnership with LAHSA, Friends of Ballona Wetlands, the Wetlands Conservancy, and community groups like Friends of the Jungle, demonstrate the collaborative leadership I committed to as a candidate for public office and which I will continue to embrace as your Councilwoman. My office will continue to both address homelessness with dignity and urgency, and fight to restore and protect our essential environmental assets.”
Park had called the longstanding encampments along the protected Ballona Wetlands a “historic failure” to address homelessness and protect the environment.
The Friends of the Ballona Wetland said they had been working on a cleanup of the area for years and while they are grateful for the removal of the campers, the restoration will be expensive.
“It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take decades for the Marsh to heal,” they said in a statement. “Hundreds of native plants and trees were cut down or trampled, 100+ tons of debris was dumped, biohazardous materials were discharged, several acres of fire damage, vandalism of the educational signs and benches, creation of social trails segmenting habitat, and spreading invasive weeds had severe impacts on the habitat.”