LOS ANGELES - With the state’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis hurting more and more Californians, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH), Abode Communities and other city, county, housing and veteran leaders gathered Friday at City Hall to urge voters to support Propositions 1 and 2 that will build and provide affordable and supportive housing for people in need of a stable home.
"Each one of us has an interest in making sure that the most vulnerable Californians — whether they're seniors scraping by on fixed incomes, or working people who are a paycheck away from losing their place — can find safe, stable, and affordable homes," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Props 1 and 2 will help us build housing that people need now, while getting our homeless neighbors off the streets and into supportive housing where they can rebuild their lives."
Councilmembers Monica Rodriguez, Jose Huizar, Gil Cedillo, and David Ryu also joined the rally before the City Council went into session to vote on a resolution in support of Props 1 and 2.
Prop 1, the Veterans and Affordable Housing Act, is a $4 billion bond that will build and provide affordable housing for veterans, working families, people with disabilities, Californians experiencing homelessness and many others who need a stable, affordable home. It’s estimated 1 in 3 Californians can’t afford their rent, and many are spending between 30 to 50 percent of their incomes on housing costs.
Meanwhile, Prop 2 is a $2 billion bond that focuses on helping Californians living with a serious mental illness who are homeless get off the streets and into supportive housing that is connected to mental health and addiction services, medical care and case managers. It’s estimated more than 134,000 people are languishing on California’s streets and as many as a third of the people living in these unsafe conditions have an untreated mental illness.
In Los Angeles County alone, it’s estimated there is a shortage of more than 568,200 rental homes for households earning less than $41,500, and more than 47,000 homeless people, according to SCANPH, a leading Southern California organization working toward policies and funding to develop affordable homes across southern California to address this crisis.
“Having an affordable place to call on our own has given me and family hope, and helped us to experience a better way of life that we never imagined possible, including going to college and being a part of a vibrant community,” said 23-year-old Dasey DePaz, who lives with her parents and two young brothers in an affordable housing unit from Abode Communities. “I know that we were extremely fortunate to find affordable housing, and I want to see other families like mine have this opportunity to have a place to call home. Prop 1 can make that possible.”
“Prop 1 will ensure that hardworking families who come to Abode Communities in need of an affordable place to live have access to a stable, permanently affordable home, one that allows children, families, and entire communities to thrive”, said Robin Hughes, President and CEO of Abode Communities.
Prop 1 also specifically focuses on veterans, including $1 billion for the CalVet Home Loan Program, that has already helped 423,000 veterans and their families. Helping veterans access housing is vital as California has 24% of the national veteran population that is homeless, the largest share of any state. In addition, as U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to wind down, the issues of veteran unemployment, homelessness, Post-Traumatic Stress, and other reintegration issues have reached critical levels.
“The foundation of affordable housing provides veterans a path forward after their service, and when we vote for measures like Props 1 and 2 we can all support veterans and show our gratitude for their contribution to this country and the sacrifices they have made for us,” said Stephen Peck, President and CEO of United States Veterans Initiative, and a veteran who served in as lieutenant in the 1st Marine Division in the Vietnam War.
Governor Jerry Brown and California’s Legislature put Prop 1 on the November ballot as part of a multi-pronged strategy in the 2017-18 State Budget to address the crisis faced by the many Californians who can’t afford the cost of housing, including veterans, families, seniors, survivors of domestic violence and others in need of a stable roof over their head. Under the 2018-19 State Budget, the Governor and Legislature placed Prop 2, No Place Like Home, on the November 2018 ballot to build permanent supportive housing for Californians with a serious mental illness who are homeless or at great risk of becoming homeless.
Learn more about Yes on Prop. 1 at www.vetsandaffordablehousingact.org
Learn more about Yes on Prop. 2 at www.cayesonprop2.org