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10 things you need to know about Measure HHH

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A homeless man sleeps beside the wall on the sidewalk along a street in downtown Los Angeles, California on February 9, 2016.
Los Angeles City and County officials are voting February 9 on plans aimed at ending homelessness in the community, mostly by making permanent housing available to the tens of thousands of people who are homeless.
 / AFP / Frederic J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
A homeless man sleeps beside the wall on the sidewalk along a street in downtown Los Angeles, California. If approved, Measure HHH could provide up to 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing for the most chronically homeless.

Homelessness is at chronic levels in Los Angeles. Measure HHH hopes to build new homes to take some people off of the streets. Find out more.

Los Angeles is known as the homeless capital of the United States, and the numbers support that title.

According to data released in May by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the homeless population rose by 6 percent in L.A. County to 46, 874. The same census also found that the number of  homeless women increased by 55 percent between 2013 and 2016. 

One effort to tackle homelessness is on the November ballot. It's called Measure HHH — Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing and Facilities Bond — and is proposed by the city of Los Angeles.

So what is it, and what will it mean for you?

Here are five things you need to know about HHH – and five reasons some people are not in favor of the measure.

What is HHH?

Measure HHH is co-authored by L.A. City Council members Jose Huizar and Marqueece Harris-Dawson. Speaking with Take Two, Harris-Dawson described HHH as:

"A measure on the L.A. city ballot to fund a bond to build 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing and provide several million dollars for affordable housing in the city of Los Angeles. "

The bond aims to raise $1.2 billion, which the city of Los Angeles would use to leverage additional funding from the state, federal agencies and philanthropic organizations. The plan is to generate a total of $4 billion to spend on housing.

How much will it cost?

What everyone wants to know: how will this hit me in my pocket? Measure HHH will be funded by property tax dollars.  To break it down, homeowners in L.A. will pay an extra $9.64 a year for every $100,000 in property owned. To put it another way, a home valued at $700,000 would incur a little under $70 a year in additional property taxes. Renters will not be on the hook for this.

So who will qualify for one of the units created under HHH?

The bond money raised from HHH will only serve the city of Los Angeles, which has a homeless population of around 28,000. 

As for who gets the keys to a new place?  Marqueece Harris- Dawson said:

"The County of Los Angeles has the Coordinated Entry System, or CES.  That database puts people who are at the most vulnerable situations at the top of the list. As units become available, people at the top of the list will be offered those units. So the way you qualify for housing is being a part of the CES system, which almost every homeless person is a part of."

According to the City of Los Angeles, the cost of one of these housing units is about $350,000.  On average the City will  finance about a third of each unit. Also, once the tenant has moved in, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) provides vouchers to help with rent and some operating costs. When able, the tenant pays 30 to 40 percent of their gross monthly income on rent.

How many people will be housed under HHH, if approved?

Around 13,000 is the current estimate among HHH supporters.

Will HHH end homelessness?

Supporters of the measure say no, it won’t. But if voters approve HHH, some units could be available within six months. 

To date, $1.7 million has been spent on the Yes on HHH campaign. Opponents say they have spent nothing. For some of the concerns around the approval of HHH, Take Two spoke with Skid Row homeless advocate General Jeff. 

Measure HHH won't help enough people; it's only focused on the City of Los Angeles

"The main concern of the needs of the people on the streets is that we ALL need housing, that’s 50,000 in L.A. County — 50,000, not 10,000. So to house 10,000 and to leave 40,000 on the streets, including men, women and women with children, is unacceptable."

The units may be built in areas where the homeless are not welcome

"Even if HHH passes, where are they going to construct these 10,000 units across the City of L.A.? Because NIMBY-ism, Not In My Back Yard, will be a serious fight that a lot of people will be concerned about their property values going down if they have low-income housing in their communities. How is that going to sustain itself in terms of two communities coming together?"

To answer General Jeff’s question: Under HHH, 12 parcels of land have been identified as possible development sites in Lincoln Heights, Sylmar, Marina Del Rey, Westchester and San Pedro. 

As part of the deal, Los Angeles County has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide support services, including mental health treatment and drug rehabilitation, for those being housed in the new units.

Funding for support services from L.A. County is not clearly defined

Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Association is also opposed to Measure HHH.

"Right now, the County is AWOL. They have not indicated how they’re going to provide the funds to provide the services for the people who are going to be in the permanent supportive housing: how they’re going to provide the outreach, the counselors, the mental health counseling. It needs to be on the table and thought out and funded, before you go ahead with the housing."

The $1.2 billion bond will cost property tax payers closer to $2 billion

According to the City's Tax Rate Statement, the interest on the bond is estimated at $693 million, which will be added to property tax bills.

Once the funds are collected, who will be in charge of oversight?

This is a big concern for Mark Ryavec:

"One of the other major concerns with HHH is the lack of oversight. We have seen in the past, both in the community college district and, for example, advanced development and investment where there was millions and millions of dollars of fraudulent billings, that you run the risk of fraud and corruption of extraordinary levels."

You can find out more about HHH by clicking on the blue button above and listening to the audio.

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