Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas urged more than 100 faith leaders and their respective congregations to coalesce around efforts to address homelessness – including at the ballot box.
Describing homelessness as “a crisis of historic proportions that demands a moral solution,” he urged Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders gathered at the LA Voice Faith Leaders’ Summit on Housing and Homelessness to vote for Proposition HHH on November 8, as well as a possible ballot measure on March 7 that could raise $355 million a year to pay for services to the homeless.
“Los Angeles County has put forward $100 million in new, one-time funding to implement its strategies for addressing homelessness – but sustaining these strategies in the years to come will require additional, ongoing funds,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “That’s why we’re looking at placing a ¼-cent general sales tax on the March ballot, which would not only put a roof over people’s heads but provide the services they need to remain stably housed.”
He said the potential March ballot measure would go hand-in-hand with the City of Los Angeles’ Proposition HHH, which is intended to fund the construction of affordable housing.
Rev. Zachary Hoover, executive director of LA Voice, said the interfaith community, working together, could play a role in alleviating the crisis. “There’s an amazing amount of service that happens in congregations all across LA County, the state and the country,” he said. “Sometimes we just need some help figuring out how we’re going to make systemic change, how we can raise our voices for things like Prop HHH and other measures that can make a much bigger dent on the problem.”
Rev. Kevin Sauls, senior pastor of Holman Methodist Church, which hosted the summit, pledged his support. “We’re signed up for the long haul,” he said.
During the summit, Rabbi Ronit Tsadok of IKAR LA, asked participants to envision what they would like to accomplish on homelessness. The answers included: restore human dignity, and equal opportunities and resources to all people.
Imam Ameen Omar, resident Imam of Masjid Al-Shareef of Long Beach, stressed the need to help the homeless, saying, “Members of this universal body are hurting and we feel their pain.”
“We’re stepping up to the plate, and doing the work,” he said, adding, “May God bless us, continue to bestow upon us the courage and the tenacity so that we will not give in nor give up because there’s much more ahead for us to do.”