This fall, there will be a number of Propositions and Ballot Measures that will have an impact on housing and homelessness. Here’s what we suggest.

By Street Spirit staff

Statewide Propositions 

Vote YES on Proposition 1, the Housing Programs and Veterans’ Loans Bond.” 

Voting yes on Prop 1 would help the state build more support affordable housing through pre-existing programs. 

If it passes, Proposition 1 would authorize the state of California to sell bonds to fund affordable housing and veteran assistance programs. If it passes, it would allow the government to sell $4 billion in bonds: $1 billion would go towards the CalVet Program, and the remaining $3 billion would be distributed among affordable housing programs. 

Youth Spirit Artworks also endorses this proposition. 

Vote YES on Proposition 2, the “No Place Like Home Act of 2018.” 

Voting yes on Proposition 2 would authorize the state of California to sell up to $2 billion in bonds to fund the No Place Like Home Act, which would provide homeless people struggling with mental illness get permanent supportive housing. 

Additionally, these individuals would have access to medical and social services on-site. The existing revenue that would fund this comes from Proposition 63, or the Mental Health Services Act, which placed a 1% tax on income above $1 million to fund county mental health services. Up to $140 million would be moved from this fund annually to go towards the housing and treatment provided by the No Place Like Home Program. 

Youth Spirit Artworks also endorses this proposition. 

Vote YES on Proposition 10, the “Local Rent Control Initiative.” 

The passage of Prop 10 would repeal Costa- Hawkins, the 1995 law that limited rent control in California cities. This would give local governments the power to pass rent control laws, which could play an important part in alleviating the housing crisis in many California cities. 

Youth Spirit Artworks also endorses this proposition. 

Berkeley Ballot Measures 

Vote YES on Measure O, the “Housing Bonds measure.” 

Measure O would authorize the City of Berkeley to issue up to $135 million in bonds dedicated to the construction of housing for low to median income individuals and working families. 

This measure will jump start the construction of affordable housing in Berkeley, and help very low income people off the street. 

Youth Spirit Artworks also endorses this measure. 

Vote YES on Measure P, the “Real Property Transfer Tax Increase.” 

If it passes, Measure P would help generate additional funds for Berkeley by increasing the transfer tax rate from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent for the next ten years. This tax is only paid once and would only apply to property transactions over $1.5 million and then be adjusted to only apply to the top 33% of transactions. 

This money would go toward homeless services, including navigation centers, mental health support, and rehousing. Measure P would also Measure P establish a Homeless Services Panel of Experts to advise the City Council on expenditures to reduce homelessness and ensure all funds are properly spent. 

Youth Spirit Artworks also endorses this measure. 

Oakland Ballot Measures 

Vote YES on Measure W, the “Vacant Property Tax.” 

Measure W would create a new revenue stream by placing an annual tax on vacant parcels of land and buildings within Oakland, with some exemptions. The tax funds would go towards funding homelessness programs and services, as well as affordable housing. The measure would also establish a Commission on Homelessness, composed of Oakland residents, to make recommendations on how tax funds should be used and publish an annual report on the tax. 

Vote YES on Measure Y, the “Close the Loophole Ordinance.” 

Measure Y seeks to address Oakland’s housing crisis by extending Just Cause protections to residents that are vulnerable to eviction due to a loophole. 

Currently, landlords aren’t allowed to evict tenants without a just cause, unless they live in an owner-occupied duplex or triplex. Measure Y would remove this loophole and grant residents of duplex and triplex rentals the same protections as those in other rentals. 

Simply put, Measure Y would expand laws that are already protecting renters, and prevent further displacement of Oakland residents.