Alliance for Community Transit spokesperson Alison Vu says, "It's time for the millionaires and billionaires in Los Angeles to pay their fair share and help us address the housing and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles." ACT-LA is a prominent member of a coalition of community groups working to do just that, by getting the United to House L.A. initiative qualified for the November 2022 ballot.
The grassroots initiative grew out the work of many community groups that many Streetsblog L.A. readers will recognize: ACT-LA, Move L.A., L.A. Community Action Network (LA CAN), the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH), Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), the L.A./OC Building and Construction Trades Council, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), IBEW Local 11, and UNITE HERE Local 11. It is currently endorsed by 50+ community groups.
United to House L.A. would enact a new tax on the sale of high value property in L.A. City. According to proponents' initiative overview, 97 percent of recent property sales were not valuable enough for the new assessment to apply. Properties selling for $5-10 million dollars would be taxed once at 4 percent. Properties selling for more than $10 million would be taxed once at 5 percent. Vu notes that, "Only millionaires and billionaires will be paying for this, but every person in Los Angeles will be able to benefit."
Proponents estimate that this would generate $8 billion over 10 years, which they term "the largest long-term housing funding ever considered in the city of Los Angeles." Similar progressive documentary transfer taxes are already in effect in Culver City and San Francisco, according to Vu.
The money collected would go to a new Los Angeles Program to Prevent Homelessness and Fund Affordable Housing, which would pay for protection of existing affordable housing, creation of new affordable housing, and supportive services for low income renters. Vu expects that the fund will "build 26,000 homes in the first ten years, and help 475,000 at-risk renters stay in their homes each year." Find more details, including the full initiative text, at the United to House L.A. campaign website.
The initiative kicked off last December, receiving coverage at the L.A. Times and LAist.
Vu stressed the need for volunteers, right now. United to House L.A. volunteers are working "to help get 65,000 signatures from registered L.A. City voters by the end of April." Volunteer training and door-knocking days will take place upcoming Saturdays March 5 (tomorrow out of SAJE at 152 W. 32nd Street in South L.A. - sign up form), March 19 (out of AFL-CIO at 1626 Beverly Boulevard, just west of downtown L.A. - sign up form), April 2, and April 16. To get involved, sign up at the campaign website and/or follow ACT-LA on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram.