An effort to find significant money for affordable housing in Long Beach has had an auspicious launch — with significant money.
Lift Up Long Beach Families, Rex Richardson Ballot Measure Committee reported raising $207,000 in the first six months of 2019, according to the Secretary of State's office. That was without a specific ballot measure to propose, according to Richardson, Long Beach's Ninth District City Councilman.
"Last year when I was sworn in (for a second term on the City Council), I said affordable housing was a key issue," Richardson said. "We're just following recommendations from our Everyone Home task force… We want to evaluate a replacement revenue source for housing."
The revenue Richardson wants to replace came when Long Beach — and the rest of the state — had Redevelopment Agencies. Part of that program required home builders to either include a percentage of affordable housing in any development or pay into the city's affordable housing fund. Most developers opted for the payment, resulting in a healthy housing fund.
The Everyone Home Task Force was formed to come up with recommendations to combat homelessness in Long Beach. One of those recommendations was to find a new, significant source of money to build affordable housing.
"I agreed to raise the money to explore a (ballot) measure in 2020," Richardson said. "That's what I've done, raised the initial money… Now it's time for the details. We're still figuring out how to do the polling, do the research."
Richardson said the next step is to form a steering committee to guide community outreach, develop community advocates and settle on a proposal to put on the November 2020 ballot. He said he was uncertain on the exact form that committee would take, but that it likely will include members of the Everyone Home group and affordable housing advocates.
"With this much support this early," Richardson said in reference to the money raised so far, "I'd say it's a pretty good sign."
According to the finance report filed with the secretary of state's office, most of the donations to Lift Up Long Beach were large. Four $25,000 donations raised almost half of the money. Those donors were John Molina and Pacific6 Enterprises, Southern California I.B.E.W.-N.E.C.A. Labor Management Cooperation Committee, California Resources Corporation and Dignity Ca. SEIU Local 2015.
There were a total of 17 donations of $5,000 or more, including $5,000 from the Long Beach Police Officers Association, $12,500 from the Waterford Property Company, $5,000 from LBCCD Trustee (Uduak-Joe) Ntuk, $10,000 from Atlantic and Artesia LLC and $5,000 from Long Beach Mobility PAC Sponsored by Long Beach Yellow Cab.
So far, Lift Up Long Beach Families has spent $24,135.11, almost all on campaign consultant Lisa Cassinis.
Late last week, Richardson issued a statement about the ballot measure initiative: