The letter H, a simple letter, nothing exciting or out of the ordinary about this letter at first glance. Except for those 47,000+ homeless men, women and children in LA County it could affect after today polls close. Measure H, a plan unanimously voted on to be included on the ballot by both Democrats and Republicans on the Board of Supervisors in order to address the homelessness crisis. If approved, Measure H would impose a 0.25% special transactions and use tax on the gross receipts of any retailer from sale of all personal property in the incorporated and unincorporated territory of the County over a 10-year period.


Compelling statements such “it’s too big a problem and the problem is complex but if we don’t do something the problem will get worse” (Katie Hill, deputy CEO of PATH, the largest organization focused on addressing homelessness in CA) and the growing homeless crisis is “compromising public health and safety and hurting local businesses” (Mary Wickham, County Counsel) have been made in support of the Measure and this certainly is a crisis that needs to be actively combatted. However, a very important question has gone unanswered; what exactly is the plan to combat homelessness once the $350 million a year is collected with this new tax increase?  The Measure would fund homeless services and prevention, but how?


We, as responsible citizens, must take drastic measures to ensure the homeless epidemic does not grow even more out of control. We must put a stop to homelessness and address not only the lack of housing, but also the underlying issues such as the treatment of health and mental illnesses and job training. If passed, can Measure H help us take the proper steps in the right direction?