The LA Times published this endorsement Sunday: For homeless people to rebuild their lives, they need permanent housing. But that’s just one of the building blocks to a new, functional life. Homeless people need services to help them leave behind the isolation of life on the streets, get housed and stay housed, and those services are as varied as the reasons they tumbled into homelessness. Someone suffering from psychosis or depression needs mental health care. Someone with a drug addiction needs substance abuse treatment. Someone who’s been laid off and can’t pay the rent needs a short-term rental subsidy and help getting a new job.
Measure H on the Los Angeles County ballot would raise the sales tax a quarter of a cent and generate about $355 million annually for that essential array of services. Funds from the measure can be spent only on homelessness services — including prevention — and the tax expires in 10 years. To help homeless people stay housed and off the streets, vote for Measure H.
This initiative does not duplicate Proposition HHH, the bond measure that city voters overwhelmingly approved last November to supply more housing for the homeless. Instead, it complements HHH by paying for the services to be provided in the city’s new supportive housing units for the chronically homeless. If housing is the hardware, services are the software that make it run.