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L.A. To Ask Voters For $1.2 Billion For Homeless Housing In November

Shelter from the storm (Photo by Mikey Wally via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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As a part of its plan to mitigate homelessness in Los Angeles, the L.A. City Council wants to build roughly 10,000 units of "supportive housing," explicitly designated for getting homeless people people off the streets and under a roof. This, of course, is very pricey, and is expected to cost L.A. roughly $1.2 billion.

Earlier this week, the L.A. City Council approved a pair of potential revenue streams that would, once finalized, be used to fund construction of those 10,000 units, according to KPCC The two choices will eventually be narrowed to one, which will, in turn, be placed on the November ballot for voter approval. If two-thirds of Los Angeles city voters approve the proposition, it will become law.

To pay for the construction, the city is proposing either a general obligation bond or a property parcel tax, according to KABC. Though city lawmakers haven't yet decided on which funding measure they'll actually float to voters this November, the deadline to submit ballot resolutions comes just a few days from now on July 1. Essentially, the city needs to establish an official record of both proposed funding sources now, even though only one will eventually be submitted for voter approval.

The first proposal would authorize the city to sell bonds as it needs to in order to build the housing. Money to pay off the bonds would come from a property tax based on a property's assessed value. That tax would cost property owners roughly $17.54 per $100,000 of their land's assessed price. Landlords would be allowed to pass the cost on to both commercial and residential tenants, except those protected by rent-control.

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Alternatively, municipal policymakers are considering a tax based on the size of a person's home. Though the city hasn't established a specific rate yet, that tax would most likely be about 4-cents per square foot of a property's 'improvements.' The end goal is to generate about $90 million in annual revenue.

One of these two proposals will be on the November ballot, albeit potentially tweaked from their current specifics. The city council voted 14-0 to move both proposals forward. Mitch Englander was absent from the vote, according to the Daily News.

Though all the lawmakers voted in favor of the proposals, it's no secret that many councilmembers view the city-based proposals as inherently limited.

For example, Councilmember Jose Huizar, who represents much of central and downtown L.A., thinks an approach to fighting homelessness must come with greater regional support.

"The county and the state have much better access to federal funds," he said, to KPCC. "I think overall this is the best we can do."

A county-proposed "millionaire's tax" to fight homelessness stalled after Governor Brown failed to indicate his support for the measure.