A Ballot Measure to Reform Real Estate Transfer Taxes
By almost any measure, Los Angeles has one of the most serious housing crises of any major American city. That is the opening statement of a recent analysis of the United to House LA (ULA) measure on the November ballot in the City of Los Angeles, which involves an increase in the real estate transfer tax for properties that sell for more than $5 million—about 4% of real estate transaction in a given year.
This measure is expected to raise about $923 million a year to build new affordable housing, preserve existing low-cost housing, provide rent relief for those facing eviction, and offer income support to low-income, rent-burdened seniors, provide legal counsel for tenants facing eviction, and educate landlords and tenants about their rights and responsibilities under the last.
We have a crisis-level shortage of affordable and supportive housing in Los Angeles, and without addressing the root causes of homelessness, we are doomed to remain frozen in the current status quo. The Economic Roundtable released a report predicting L.A. County is projected to see an 86% increase in chronic homelessness over the next four years due to economic issues caused by the pandemic.
Despite a sustained increase in effectively housing people who are currently unhoused in the City of Los Angeles, we face a humanitarian crisis that can only be solved by building more affordable housing with a trained and well-paid workforce, and helping at-risk renters so they do not lose their home.
A recently published white paper written by experts from UCLA, USC, and Occidental College found that: "By providing funding for new housing and homelessness prevention, Measure ULA represents a holistic approach to the city’s housing affordability and homelessness crises. We find that the magnitude of Measure ULA’s potential revenue, coupled with the program’s design and oversight, make this proposal likely to have a strong, positive impact on homelessness reduction and housing affordability in Los Angeles."
Move LA wrote the ballot measure and built the coalition needed to qualify Measure ULA—the “Los Angeles Program to Prevent Homelessness and Fund Affordable Housing (House LA)”—for the November 2022 ballot in the City of LA. This citizen-led effort includes more than 200 organizations who have endorsed the measure, including: the LA County Federation of Labor, SEIU 2015, the LA/OC Building & Construction Trades Council, Community Coalition, ACLU Southern California, ACT-LA, SAJE, and many others.
We collected nearly 100,000 signatures to qualify this voter initiative for the ballot—a simple majority vote is required for voter approval of Measure ULA. You can read the coverage of the campaign in the LA Times and learn more about the measure on the website.
This measure will invest in the most comprehensive set of solutions in our city’s history by:
- Providing support to people experiencing homelessness—and those at risk of homelessness—with rental assistance, income assistance for low-income seniors, and access to permanent housing.
- Including the strongest citizens’ oversight and accountability protections in the city's , including a dedicated Inspector General with independent funding.
- Creating more than 26,000 homes for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, and helping the approximately 69,000 people who experience homelessness every night over the next decade.
- Creating 44,000 construction jobs over the next decade with strong labor provisions to ensure a skilled workforce and to address wage inequities that can cause the very crisis we seek to solve.
- Helping more than 475,000 at-risk renters every year both maintain their stability and keep their homes.
- Asking millionaires and billionaires to contribute their fair share to invest in innovative solutions to create affordable housing and keep people housed. Only 3% of transactions between March 2019 and March 2020 would have been subject to this fee, and would have generated roughly $800 million in revenue.
As a coalition, Move LA and its many partners in this effort were driven by the belief that when we have enough affordable housing for every child, family, and resident of Los Angeles—so they can live safely and without fear of eviction in their communities—we’ll all benefit.
Workers will be able to find housing closer to their jobs, which will decrease commute times and traffic. People will be able to live closer to their families and friends and to their doctors, grocery stores and other services that enable them to take care of themselves and at the same time increase the overall increase health of our communities.
There's still time to get involved and help us ensure that the ballot measure passes in November. You can volunteer Here.