A Stronger Union: $600M Promised to Help Vets Find Housing in CA

(AP Photo/David Goldman)International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11 has continued its goal of assisting military veterans transitioning to civilian life by supporting the effort to pass Proposition 41, a California affordable housing bill. According to a 2013 survey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 22 percent of homeless Americans live in the state of California.  

During the months leading up to the June 3 primary elections, Local 11, sister Los Angeles Local 18 and the state’s building and construction trades supported Proposition 41, a ballot referendum to establish bond funding to finance millions of dollars of affordable multifamily housing for low-income and homeless veterans or those recovering from physical injuries or mental health issues.

The measure, originally proposed by California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, would allow the state to borrow up to $600 million by selling bonds to investors.

The bonds would be repaid using general tax revenues. The cost to taxpayers to repay the bonds would average about $50 million annually for 15 years, a number less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state budget.

On June 3rd, Proposition 41 was approved by more than 65 percent of voters.  Kropke touched on the importance of the public’s support:

“We are excited about the wide majority behind Proposition 41. We want California to lead the country in truly respecting our veterans by providing opportunities for both decent jobs and decent housing,”

In December, Local 11 set a goal of recruiting at least 50 percent of its future apprentices from the military ranks.  According to Local 11 Business Manager and decorated Vietnam veteran Marvin Kropke, the union’s goal is clear: “When America’s heroes return home from wars abroad, they should not have to struggle to find a job.”

In addition to the push for Proposition 41, Local 11 has shows its commitment to veterans by conducting video chats with active duty soldiers in Afghanistan about a future careers in construction.

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