Editor’s Note:The results in this story were updated Wednesday morning to reflect the measure passed.
Los Angeles County’s Measure H, an effort to combat homelessness with a quarter-of-a-cent tax increase, appears to have reached the two-thirds majority for passage, according to county results.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the yes vote stands at 67.44 percent compared to 32.56 percent voting no.
The initiative will raise about $355 million a year for 10 years to increase services to homeless people across the county. This was the only item on the ballot in the Santa Clarita Valley.
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who was a proponent of the measure, said Tuesday whether or not the measure passes she plans to continue efforts to reduce homelessness that have proven effective in the past, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“Looking forward, we will continue our work for a thoughtful, cost-effective approach to addressing homelessness with clear-cut objectives, benchmarks and anticipated outcomes,” Barger said in a statement to The Signal. “We will also incorporate the vital input of our cities and provider communities to target resources to areas with the greatest need and ensure accountability.”
According to Barger’s Communications Deputy Tony Bell, Barger plans to put further focus on Mental Evaluation Teams, of which there are currently 23 in the county, which help mental health professionals and law enforcement collaborate to connect with homeless people. Bell said Barger believes most homeless people have mental health issues or problems with drugs or alcohol.
“We are very committed to treatment,” Bell said. “We want to work closely with people who know how to do this work.”
According to Bell, some of the services the revenue will pay for may include mental health assistance, job training, housing, counseling and reuniting families.
“We want to help these people get productive again,” Bell said. “Revolving doors are not solutions.”
Bell said the county wants to be cost-effective and results-oriented with the funds Measure H would gather.
“We want to be accountable to the tax payer,” he said. “These are the streets we all live and work on.”
Valley resident Mike Rayfield said he voted ‘yes’ on Measure H to help those who cannot help themselves.
“People need help,” Rayfield said. “They can’t live on the streets. People end up in circumstances out of their control.”
Santa Clarita local Bill Haley said he voted ‘no’ on H because he did not think the description of the measure was specific enough in regards to how the tax revenue would be used.
“They listed 50 things they wanted to do and didn’t say how they were going to do it,” Haley said. “It’s unacceptable.”
In person voter turnout was low, as many voters chose to vote in advance by mail. In one precinct of 2,700 eligible voters, only 28 people had come to vote in person by 4 p.m.