L.A. voters approved more money to fight homelessness. Now they want to see results.
By a vote of 65-33 on Tuesday, the L.A. City Council approved the first of three new $1.1 billion bond measures authorized by voters to address homelessness and homelessness prevention.
The three approved measures, which together will raise $1.8 billion, total $1.9 billion, will be paid for entirely through sales tax increases to finance L.A.’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda.
The vote was a rebuke to the more hardline mayor’s approach to homelessness over the past two years, as well as to what some have deemed a lack of political courage by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who instead has adopted a harder-line approach to homelessness prevention in order to secure a second term in office.
The vote was, however, a rebuff to Garcetti’s critics on the political left and right.
“We believe that this is the mayor’s only opportunity to actually get something done,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino, who sponsored the legislation. “The fact of the matter is, when it comes to the amount of homelessness, we’ve got the means to do this, and there’s a need for increased funding.”
More to the point, Buscaino said, the vote is further proof of Garcetti’s ability to govern and the left’s inability to govern.
“There’s a lack of will,” Buscaino said. “There’s a lack of political courage, and a lack of leadership, and that’s what we’ve got to change about the way the left can think as it relates to the homeless.”
“This is, in large part, my idea of leadership. The mayor has a different idea.”
L.A. is home to more homeless than any other city in the country when it comes to the total number of people experiencing homelessness, but the city has struggled to get enough money to battle the issue.
So far, L.A. has received $7 million from last year’s Proposition HX, which added $1.5 billion to the city’s general obligation bond to add affordable housing.
Last year, Los Angeles voters approved the first two of three bonds that will raise $1.8 billion over the next two years to fund that $1.5