Something Tangible to Address Homelessness – Prop HHH
October 18, 2016
Not a day goes by without a call from a concerned property or business owner seeking answers to explain why the homeless situation in Hollywood has increased so significantly over the past couple of years. Indeed, this is corroborated by reliable data sources: the annual homeless count conducted by LAHSA in January of this year and the monthly homeless count conducted by the BID Patrol on the last day of each month. At a special meeting of the Joint BID Security Committee in July, Kerry Morrison prepared a presentation to outline this data and report on some of the changes on the horizon that offer hope.
Her report (which is available here) showed a 106% increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets of both the Sunset and Hollywood BIDs from June 2013 to June 2016. With respect to the official LAHSA count, the city of LA number was pegged at 28,464 this January; in the section that is defined as Hollywood (larger than just the BID boundaries) the number jumped 32% from 942 to 1,247. Not surprisingly, the number living in encampments in Hollywood jumped 48% to 161 and the number living in tents increased 85% to 141.
Recognizing the seriousness of this situation, elected officials in the city and county of Los Angeles are now working collaboratively in unprecedented ways to address this issue. Meaningful change will require resources, however, and absent funding for housing and the services that are needed for people living with mental illness, physical disabilities or substance abuse, this situation will continue to deteriorate.
To that end, the L.A. City Council voted to place a general obligation bond measure on the November ballot which will ask LA City voters to approve a 10-year plan to raise $1.2B to fund permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people. Proposition HHH will stimulate the construction of 8,000 to 10,000 units of housing, leveraging other funding sources threefold. The housing will be located throughout the city of LA, in every council district.
This bond measure is widely supported throughout the city. Backers include council and mayor, the Greater LA Chamber of Commerce, the LA County Federation of Labor and a long list of community, philanthropic and business organization. The boards for both the Central Hollywood Coalition and the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance voted at their September meetings to add their names to the long list of supporters.
Though voter angst about homelessness polls very high (a “window of opportunity” according to political consultants who observe the whims of public opinion), this measure needs to secure a two-thirds passage. Further, to find it, voters must wade through what will be a very long ballot in LA. 17 propositions will be on the state ballot alone, not counting candidate elections, local city and county measures.
For more information about Prop. HHH, including what it will do and the campaign to secure its passage, please consult yesonhhh.com for more information.
Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. She serves on the United Way/LA Area Chamber Home For Good Task Force and blogs at www.onlyinhollywood.org. @KerryHMorrison