A half-cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters nearly two years ago to fund homeless programs has been a significant success, some government leaders said Monday as they urged the public to volunteer for the upcoming homeless count.
"Thanks to Measure H, we have collectively housed almost 10,000 men, women and children -- and that's just over the last 15 months," Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. "There's more work ahead of us but this is tangible progress and a sign that we should redouble our efforts. As we head into the season of giving, let us roll up our sleeves, open our hearts and extend our hands to help our unhoused neighbors."
Ridley-Thomas discussed Measure H at a news conference at the El Segundo Boulevard Apartments, a new affordable housing apartment building in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood, with Supervisor Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Joe Buscaino.
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"Nearly two years ago, we made a bold promise to voters: that with Measure H funding we would be able to help lift 45,000 out of homelessness in five years," Hahn said. "Today, we are well on our way to delivering on that promise."
The officials said Measure H has resulted in 9,635 homeless men, women and children placed into permanent housing, and 18,714 people placed into crisis, bridge and interim housing.
"Homelessness is the most pressing issue facing L.A. today -- and we can only end it if everyone steps up and works together," Garcetti said. "We have made encouraging progress in this fight over the last year. But the work is far from over, and we must keep pushing forward. That's why it is so important to sign up and volunteer for the 2019 count."
The count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in January helps determine how many homeless people may be living on the streets.
Last year, around 8,500 people volunteered, and the count concluded that homelessness had fallen for the first time in years, decreasing by 4 percent to 53,195.
"Every year, Los Angeles County residents by the thousands spend a couple of January nights walking the streets where too many of our homeless neighbors live," said Peter Lynn, executive director of LAHSA. "These efforts help us recognize the scale of our crisis and the specifics of our fellow Angelenos' lives."