City Council to consider putting homeless and affordable housing bond measure on ballot

This November, Long Beach voters could decide whether to raise property taxes to support a $298 million bond that would fund homeless and affordable housing initiatives across the city.

The City Council in its regular meeting Jan. 7 will consider placing the housing bond measure on the Nov. 3 ballot in an effort to fund “low income and workforce housing, crisis shelters and homeless service facilities, motel conversion programs, and other solutions to address the housing and homelessness crisis in Long Beach.”

Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson, who is leading the effort, proposed the agenda item along with support from 1st District Councilwoman Mary Zendejas and 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews.

Richardson said the effort, called the “Lift Up Long Beach” campaign, initially planned for a $385 million bond initiative, but the number was lowered to a “more modest” $298 million after calculating housing needs and property tax assessments.

The bond would tax property at approximately $25 per $100,000 of assessed value, which would equate to an annual bill of $125 for a home worth $500,000, or .34 cents per day. Richardson said the average Long Beach home is assessed at about $420,000.

The bond would include exemptions for seniors and those with disabilities as well as mandating local hires for any housing constriction projects.

Richardson said the bond would provide for 2,000 housing units in addition to other needs and is lower than past bond measures for the school district and city college.

“It is really a modest number and closer to the amount we need at this point,” he said Monday.

A poll in November showed that roughly two-thirds of Long Beach voters have indicated that they would support a $385 million bond initiative on the November 2020 ballot.

Voters next year will also consider a permanent city sales tax increase, as well as a possible proposed Transient Occupancy Tax increase to fund arts education and renovations for the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.

The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7 in the City Council chambers at 411 W. Ocean Boulevard.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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