Streetsblog Los Angeles is pleased to endorse United to House L.A., the ballot initiative that would build and preserve affordable housing in the city of Los Angeles. Using a new tax on high-end property sales, the initiative would generate an estimated $8 billion over ten years, which proponents are calling “the largest long-term housing funding ever considered in the city of Los Angeles.”
Similar to recent provisions in Culver City and a number of cities in the Bay Area, a one-time, 4 percent tax would be levied on sales of properties valued between $5 – $10 million; sales of properties valued over $10 million would be taxed at 5.5 percent.
The authors of the L.A. measure estimate that while the tax would affect just 3 percent of the properties sold in the city, the benefits would be widespread. Funds would be directed towards essential but underfunded programs to build new affordable housing (as many as 26,000 units), preserve existing affordable housing, and provide emergency assistance to help nearly half a million low-income renters and people at risk of homelessness remain housed.
In recent years, the county’s unhoused population has grown to more than 65,000 individuals. More than 40,000 of those folks reside in the city of Los Angeles. L.A.’s unhoused population includes disproportionate numbers of people of color who have long been discriminated against in housing and in building generational wealth.
Unfortunately, the visibility of the problem has increased pressure on elected officials to deploy more punitive solutions, further destabilizing an already destabilized population. Our unhoused neighbors are suffering and dying at unprecedented rates. It’s time for the city to close its financing gaps and invest in making L.A. more livable for all.
Streetsblog Los Angeles hadn’t endorsed ballot measures before they qualified for the ballot, but two initiatives – this and Healthy Streets – present big opportunities for improving livability for Los Angeles. Like Healthy Streets, United to House L.A. doesn’t have the kind of big-money donors to pay signature gatherers to stand outside of grocery stores and public events, so they, too, are relying on a grassroots signature-gathering drive powered by lots of volunteers. With a deadline looming at the end of April, and a goal of 65,000 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot, there’s no time like the present to volunteer to gather signatures. And if you can’t volunteer, consider donating.
For information on how to volunteer, visit the United to House L.A. website.