Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, who is locked in a tough re-election campaign, on Wednesday proposed putting a $500 million housing bond before L.A. voters sometime in 2006.
The bond would be used to expand the city's support for a wide range of affordable housing, from short-term housing for the homeless to homes for working families. It would augment a $100 million housing trust fund that the mayor and the City Council set up three years ago and would replace monies from a statewide bond measure that expires next year.
"We have to do more to build housing for our seniors, working families and homeless women and children," Hahn said at a news conference Wednesday. He added, "Business leaders consistently say that housing for their workers is key to their decisions to stay or come to a city."
Hahn said he was creating a task force to build support for the bond measure, which is being proposed too late to qualify for the May 17 citywide general election. Hahn said the earliest time such a measure could qualify for the ballot is next year, possibly on the June statewide primary ballot.
The task force will include business leaders, housing advocates and others; specific members will be announced in a couple weeks, according to deputy mayor for economic development Renata Simril.
Jan Breidenbach, executive director of the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing, said she supports the idea of using bonds for building of housing. But she said she had concerns that this bond might not get the required two-thirds approval from voters, noting that two similar bond measures failed to get two-thirds approval recently in San Francisco.
Breidenbach said that while a one-time $500 million injection of funds would help alleviate the region's housing shortage, she would prefer a higher level of consistent funding each year to keep the flow of new housing units going.
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