Every day more and more people are facing the horrors homelessness. The real life horrors of sleeping on the street, rummaging through trash to find maybe the only meal they’ll get for days and then be ignored as if they were invisible. Homelessness is not just an ugly societal problem or a public health crisis but a moral issue and it’s everyone’s obligation to fight it and Angelinos have the chance to take the first step by voting yes on Measure H.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the county as a whole saw an increase of 5.7 percent in its homeless population in 2016 and about a third of all homeless people in the United States are living on the streets of L.A. proper.

Measure H is a proposal that would seek to address homelessness in L.A. County by raising up to $355 million a year through a .25% increase in sales tax. According to the proposal drafted by Mary C. Wickham of the county counsel the money generated from Measure H will go to support funding mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental and housing subsidies, case management and services, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals.

To put that $355 million sum into perspective, if it would be included in California’s budget for this year, it would account for roughly 2 percent.

The most impressive thing about Measure H is its immense support from prominent L.A. leaders and, conversely, a noticeable lack of resistance otherwise. In fact, the only arguments against Measure H are, of course, the tax increase and the bureaucracy. But, the tax increase itself is negligible when considering that a 100 dollar purchase would only generate 25 cents in taxes.

The beautiful thing is the money received from the taxes can be used as grants that can go directly to agencies and nonprofits already fighting homelessness in L.A. but lack the resources needed to combat it.

Aside from these facts, however, is that we are dealing with a very tragic human issue. Most of the homeless we see on the street around Los Angeles and even around here in PCC need serious help.

Measure H plans to take a holistic approach to combatting homelessness with the intention to help so many less fortunate people in the whole of Los Angeles county. While it isn’t going to be the magical pill we swallow to make the horrors of homelessness a far distant memory in L.A., it is the best option we have right now to make a difference in the lives of the people who need it the most.

Voting for Measure H will take place on March 7th so get out there and vote yes to help put an end to our city’s homeless crisis!


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