LA County Supervisors Approve Plan for Measure H Funds

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July 1, 2017 · Posted in Commentary 
Chris Ko, Director of Homeless Initiatives for United Way and manager of Home For Good, addresses June 13 press conference in front of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' building on West Temple Street, announcing the supervisors' approval of a $1 billion budget for the first three years of the sales tax money for the homeless from Measure H.

Chris Ko, Director of Homeless Initiatives for United Way and manager of Home For Good, addresses June 13 press conference in front of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ building on West Temple Street, announcing the supervisors’ approval of a $1 billion budget for the first three years of the sales tax money for the homeless from Measure H.

Leslie Evans

The LA County Board of Supervisors approved the recommen-dations of the 50 member Measure H Revenue Planning Group for the first three years of income from the sales tax increase for the homeless, which passed in last March’s election. The quarter-cent sales tax increase is expected to generate $259 million in its first year and as much as $1 billion in the first three years. The money is to be divvied up between six basic strategies to contain homelessness, adopted by the county in February 2016.

The six strategic categories, each of which has numerous specific sub-categories are: A. Prevent homelessness, B. Subsidize housing, C. Increase income, D. Provide case management and services, E. Create a coordinated system, and F. Increase affordable/homeless housing.

Measure H is expected to raise about $355 million a year for 10 years. The budget adopted on June 13 projected $258.9 million for fiscal 2017-18, $374 million for 2018-19, and $431 million for 2019-20. The new tax goes into effect October 1, raising the rate to 9.5% in most cities in the county. The county will borrow against the expected income to begin programs July 1. Because of the late start date the tax will only be collected for 9 months of 2017-18.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas released a statement saying that in its first five years “Measure H aims to help 45,000 families and individuals escape homelessness and to enable 30,000 others to stay housed.”

In its first year the program will spend:

  1. Prevent homelessness. $8 million on rent subsidies to keep families and individuals from becoming homeless.
  2. Subsidize housing. There will be $81.4 million, the large majority of this going to a rapid rehousing program for the recently homeless, with lesser amounts to help disabled homeless register for SSI and to provide interim housing for those exiting institutions.
  3. Increase income. $15.6 million to supplement Social Security disability income and advocacy for veterans, plus $5 million to employ homeless adults.
  4. Provide case management and services. $25 million, all for rental subsidies for permanent supportive housing with case management.
  5. Create a coordinated system. The county, spearheaded by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and United Way, has been implementing a computerized Coordinated Entry System that combines adult individuals, families, and youth, with a standardized application format and a single countywide database so that all application points feed into the single center. This strategy has been allocated the single largest share of the Measure H money: $106 million. Under this category, however, $56 million, or more than half, is set to enhance the Emergency Shelter System. The remainder is divided among expanding the countywide outreach system ($19 million), investment in the Coordinated Entry System ($26 million), and $5 million for services for Transition Age Youth (24 years old or younger).
  6. Increase affordable/homeless housing. This has been allocated $15 million.

A final $1.5 million has been set aside for administration.

Below is the full budget for the first three years.

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