A coalition of housing affordability and mental health experts, community advocates, firefighters, business and union leaders, and front-line service providers submitted more than 410,000 signatures on to Los Angeles County officials on May 7, to place the Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now initiative on the November 2024 ballot. 238,922 valid signatures are required to qualify.

Recognizing the need to change the status quo, this coalition came together to draft, qualify, and now pass this bold new approach to addressing housing affordability and homelessness in L.A. County with a focus on making housing more affordable, increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, and accountability measures including a legal requirement to deliver results.

The initiative would repeal and replace the previous voter-approved measure and prevent nearly 30,000 people from losing the housing or services they currently receive. It would expand programs that address the root causes of homelessness and work to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place – a missing component of previous efforts.

More than 80 organizations support the measure including L.A. County Federation of Labor, California Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, Habitat for Humanity L.A., SEIU 721, Western States Regional Council of Carpenters, Angeleno Project, Active San Gabriel Valley, United Teachers Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 1014, Integrated Recovery Network, and Women and Children’s Crisis Center.

Hundreds of supporters rallied outside of the offices of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk as the signatures were submitted.

“I’m excited because the day is the day that we are bucking the status quo and addressing housing affordability,” said Dr. Ryan Smith, president & CEO of St. Joseph’s Center.

“This measure will increase mental health support, and we are going to make sure our government agencies are held accountable.”

“This measure is new, bold, and critically important. It will make sure that nearly 30,000 people currently receiving housing and services are not cut off from that critical support and pushed back into homelessness, while at the same time scaling up homelessness prevention and new strategies to make housing more affordable across L.A. County,” said Elise Buik, president & CEO, United Way of Greater L.A.

“The United Way of Greater L.A. is proud to support this new approach because it holds our elected leaders accountable to delivering real results and reflects the many lessons learned from past work.”

“Today, we stand at a critical crossroads in our County’s history,” said Yvonne Wheeler, president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“We have one of two options. Either we go about business as usual, or we can do something about it. Together, we can enact solutions to tackle the crisis head on, starting with the Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now measure.”

“On behalf of our 150,000 skilled men and women, we’re here to give her strong support to this measure,” said Ernesto Medrano, Executive Secretary, LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Today I stand before you as a living example of the impact that initiatives like these could have,” said James Morgan, an Army veteran who used to be unhoused and is now a union Laborer. “We want all Angelenos to have a place that they can call home, and that’s why we need to support this measure.”

“I take this really personally and I take this to heart because I grew up in the system. I grew up as a ward of the court. I know where the system has failed,” said Patrick Del Conte, a mental health professional who works for a County agency.

“We’re coming here to make change. This will expand mental health care. This will really have safeguards to follow where things are going and how people are getting served.”

“The rent is too damn high,” said Pete White, a representative of the Angeleno Project and Executive Director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN).

“Core to this measure is accountability. It will feature a transparent accountability framework with regular reporting, annual audits and performance evaluations. It also has a groundbreaking legal requirement for results.”

“This measure was written by experts,” said Jessica Melendez, director of Policy, T.R.U.S.T. South LA.

“Homelessness is the most extreme manifestation of poverty and community displacement. We won’t be able to address homelessness unless we do a much better job of helping keep those homes that folks already have. We believe this measure goes much further than any previous attempt to do exactly that – prevent homelessness before it happens.”

“Those 400,000 signatures for this ballot measure represent 400,000 people in this community that have said ‘enough is enough,’” said Sean Hartranft, president of the Western States Regional Council of Carpenters.