Two-thirds of Los Angeles residents voted 'yes' on Measure H in the city elections on Tuesday, and although 150,000 late absentee votes still need to be counted, homeless advocates are cautiously celebrating the measure's win.
Measure H proposes an additional 0.25 percent sales tax with the aim of generating $355 million annually, which will fund housing and support services for thousands of homeless people in Los Angeles.
Under the measure, an estimated 45,000 homeless families and individuals will be moved to permanent housing in the next five years. Another 30,000 families and individuals will be prevented from becoming homeless with increased funds for housing subsidies and rental assistance.
Several homelessness prevention advocates have expressed their approval of passing Measure H. Mel Tillekeratne is a representative for Monday Night Mission, a homeless shelter that hands out more than 1,000 dinners every week on Skid Row. He said he believes that passing Measure H was crucial.
"There is a severe lack of mental health resources and substance abuse recovery services, and there are no more open shelter beds in LA. We'll now have the resources to permanently end homelessness." said Mel Tillekeratne, a representative for a homeless shelter that hands out more than 1,000 dinners every week on Skid Row called "Monday Night Mission."
Peter Lynn, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) executive director and Wendy Greuel, chair of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Commission, released a post-election joint statement regarding their support of the measure.
The statement reads "Through this decisive action, [the voters of Los Angeles County] have demonstrated their profound commitment to end homelessness across our communities."
Although Measure H is endorsed by representatives from Monday Night Mission and LAHSA, the initiative maintains several opponents. Columnist Brian Baker showed strong opposition to the measure in a piece for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
"Homelessness will never be 'prevented' and the problem can never be 'solved'," Baker said.
Another Measure H opposer is Val Zavala, a KCET anchor and executive producer who argued that increasing allocated funds to homeless services is not an effective way to solve homelessness.
"Organizations dealing with homelessness and charities have plenty of money, but they don't spend it well," Zavala said.
While Measure H tentatively passed, Measure S did not, and some of its proponents argue that this will further the exploitation of low-income tenants. If passed, Measure S would have halted further housing projects for at least two years while focusing on revising outdated city planning rules.
This election also saw the approval of Measure M, which grants the city council and mayor with the authority to regulate the city's marijuana industry. Measure N, which competed with Measure M and would allow citizens to regulate and tax marijuana if passed, was not enacted. Eric Garcetti was also re-elected as the mayor of Los Angeles.