City’s next steps for Measure H

Jason Knowles (left) and Rodney Parker sit at the Metro station in Newhall with food packages from Bridge to Home. Austin Dave/The Signal

Measure H, the homeless initiative, passed early Wednesday morning with just over the two-thirds majority voted needed to do so.

It was the only item on the ballot in Santa Clarita.

Those in favor of the measure totaled 379,005 people at 67.44 percent and those opposed totaled 182,969 at 32.56 percent.

While Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth opposed Measure H, saying he’s not convinced there is sufficient oversight to ensure the Santa Clarita Valley will receive the funding despite locals paying their share of taxes, he said he will use the city’s ad hoc committee on homelessness to oversee the measure moving forward.

“We have seen this historically, countywide measures’ revenue is overwhelmingly spent in the southern part of the county and in the city of Los Angeles,” Smyth said. “I do have concerns Santa Clarita will not receive its adequate share of this revenue.”

The mayor said the Santa Clarita-oriented solution will not be a quick fix and will necessitate a long term plan that will rely on experts for advice.

“Santa Clarita always steps up whenever there is a need,” he said. “There’s so many factors that go into it. We hope that this committee can be a repository for that information as we look to find solutions.”

Smyth said the needs will differ for individuals, families, those with mental health concerns and those with jobs. He also said the need in the Santa Clarita Valley will look different from that of the Antelope Valley or San Fernando Valley.

“The purpose of the committee will be to find a Santa Clarita solution to our homeless challenges,” Smyth said. “What I’m trying to do is bring all the stakeholders together and work to come up with a comprehensive solution to where we’re not stepping on each other’s toes and resources are being maximized so that they are getting to people who need them the most.”

According to Smyth, the ad hoc committee is currently looking to schedule their first meeting for some time at the end of this month.

County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s Communications Director Tony Bell said the supervisor understood people’s hesitation to vote on the measure.

“Nobody likes tax increases,” Bell said. “Supervisor Barger encouraged people to vote with their consciences.”

The countywide measure, which will raise about $355 million a year for 10 years, aims to prevent and combat homelessness by funding services for the mental health, substance abuse treatment, healthcare, education, job training, rental and housing, transportation and outreach of homeless people.


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