This morning, a couple dozen United to House L.A. proponents representing labor unions, community organizations and social justice advocates, rallied in front of the US Bank tower in downtown Los Angeles.
United to House L.A. is a ballot initiative that goes to L.A. City voters this November as "Measure ULA." If passed, it would enact a new tax on the sale of high value property in L.A. City; tax revenues would be dedicated to projects and programs to end homelessness. 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. Proponents estimate that this would raise an estimated $8 billion over 10 years. That money would go to building new supportive housing, preserving existing affordable housing, assisting renters in danger of becoming homeless, and more.
The rally was staged across from the US Bank tower which was sold in September 2020 for a price of $430 million. Had ULA been in place at the time, the transaction would have generated $23.7 million for Angelenos' housing needs. According to ULA, this could have paid for more than 170 units of supportive housing or provided six months of rental assistance to nearly 3,000 households.
Dolores Mission Assistant Pastor Justin Claravall opened the rally speaking of how housing issues impact the breadth of Angelenos, across age, race, ethnicity, and geography. He spoke of how the responsibility for ending homelessness needs to be borne broadly, quoting the Gospel of Luke, "Every one to whom much is given, much will be required."
L.A. Community Action Network's Amerald Wheatley-Johnson called for supporting the innovative and quick-moving solutions in ULA, which she emphasized was written to address not only homelessness but the root causes of homelessness by preventing vulnerable people like seniors and the disabled from being pushed out of their homes and onto the streets.
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) CEO Jennifer Hark Dietz emphasized that homes don't just end homelessness, they change lives. She told a success story of a family recently that recently moved into PATH housing, and noted that ULA would address the current lack of resources that means that PATH and its allies do not have the capacity to address the magnitude of L.A.'s housing crisis.