United To House L.A. Proponents Submit Signatures To Qualify For November Ballot

UNITE HERE Local 11 representative Isela Ramos speaking alongside boxes containing over 98 thousand signatures for United to House L.A. - photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog
UNITE HERE Local 11 representative Isela Ramos speaking alongside boxes containing over 98 thousand signatures for United to House L.A. - photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

This morning proponents turned in signatures collected to get the United to House L.A. initiative on the November ballot. Before submitting the required signatures to the city of Los Angeles, backers rallied in celebration of today’s milestone. Speakers touted the importance of the initiative’s benefits – from curbing housing costs for working families, to getting unhoused neighbors into housing, to creating good paying jobs.

The initiative is now backed by a coalition of more than 130 local organizations ranging from homeless services providers, affordable housing developers, labor unions, climate change activists, to tenant’s rights groups. Coalition leadership includes The Alliance for Community Transit (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.

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SEIUM Local 2015 Political Organizer Cameron Peters – at podium

SEIU Local 2015 Political Organizer Cameron Peters, spoke of past efforts to address L.A.’s homelessness crises as a series of patchwork policies and programs, consistently underfunded. He committed his union to work with the coalition to pass this initiative “to ensure that Los Angeles remains a city that everyone can call home.”

ACT-LA Director Laura Raymond noted that United to House L.A. was “written by experts on the front lines who understand what solutions we need.” “The status quo isn’t working,” stated Raymond, “we need transformational change.”

ACT-LA Executive Director Laura Raymond - at podium
ACT-LA Executive Director Laura Raymond – at podium

United to House L.A. would increase the existing tax on the sale of high value property in L.A. City. 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 5.5 percent. Today, KIWA Executive Director Alexandra Suh emphasized that the new tax would apply to three percent of L.A. property sales.

Assuming voters approve the measure, it would generate $8 billion over the coming decade. The funds would go to protecting existing affordable housing, creating new affordable housing, and services supporting low income renters.

The grassroots effort gathered 98,171 signatures, well above the roughly 62,000 needed. The city will now spend from two weeks to two months checking the validity of the submitted signatures. Given the large number of signatures, more than fifty percent over the requirement, the measure appears very likely to appear on the Tuesday November 8 ballot.

United to House L.A.'s 98,171 signatures atop four pallets
United to House L.A.’s 98,171 signatures atop four pallets

Streetsblog L.A. has endorsed the United to House L.A. ballot measure. To donate or volunteer, visit the United to House L.A. website.

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