Did L.A.’s Supportive Housing Bond Fail?

Six years after Prop HHH was passed, the fund appears to be delivering on its housing construction goals in the 10-year timeline. But the measure is being routinely criticized on all sides.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 11, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By LM_Ortiz


An aerial view of Los Angeles at dawn, with Westlake and MacArthur Park in the foreground and Downtown Los Angeles in the background.

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

Proposition HHH was drafted by the Los Angeles City Council and put before voters in November 2016. The $1.2 billion housing bond promised to fund up to 10,000 units of new permanent supportive housing and affordable housing over 10 years to help get people from the streets and shelters into stable homes.

The money was to come from a new tax on property owners. It was a big ask: Since it involved taxation, the ballot measure needed a two-thirds majority to pass. Voters approved it with 77 percent of the vote, a sign that Angelenos wanted to see solutions to rising homelessness in the city.

Now, six years later, even though the HHH fund appears to be delivering on its housing construction goals in the 10-year timeline, the measure is being routinely criticized by elected officials, candidates in the 2022 mayoral race, and the city controller for delays, rising costs, and being an inadequate fix to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. In the Los Angeles mayoral primary this spring, when homelessness was one of the top issues, some candidates even suggested HHH money be clawed back or diverted to more immediate emergency shelters. What happened?

On Target

According to an HHH tracker from the city’s housing department (a similar tracker on Mayor Eric Garcetti’s website has been broken for months), there are 125 projects in the “HHH pipeline,” for a total of 7,913 units. This includes those in pre-development or development, as well as those completed and opened. Although all 125 projects are expected to be done by the end of the 10-year plan, only roughly 27 are open now; 67 are in construction, 30 in pre-development, and the loan recently closed on one project.

HHH’s benefits can extend beyond the direct funding it provides. It can make getting other financing easier as well...

Tuesday, August 2, 2022 in Shelterforce Magazine

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