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LA Mayor appoints Deepika Sharma as a commissioner on oversight committee

Kaitlyn McQuown • April 20, 2023
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Mayor Karen Bass appoints Sharma to oversee Measure ULA revenue addressing homelessness crisis

Professor Deepika Sharma, founding director of the Housing Law and Policy Clinic at USC Gould School of Law, has been appointed to a citizens oversight committee supervising Measure ULA, a new property transfer tax approved by Los Angeles voters in 2022.

Sharma, appointed by Mayor Karen Bass and approved by the Los Angeles City Council in March, is a longtime tenants’ rights advocate with a 15-year career in housing litigation and policymaking.

She launched the Housing Law and Policy Clinic in Fall of 2022, supervising USC law students. The clinic follows a community lawyering model, providing direct legal services to tenants and working alongside community leaders. Students seek to thoroughly understand and assess the community’s needs in order to deliver the most useful services.

“I am honored to be appointed by the Mayor to serve the City of LA, the place where I was raised, and which I still call home,” said Sharma. “Despite the challenges posed by the housing crisis, I am energized by the spirit of this city, which embraces immigrant families like my own, and aspires to be a beacon of inclusivity and belonging.”

Measure ULA was drafted by a coalition of service providers, nonprofits, unions and renters’ rights groups to address the growing homelessness crisis in Los Angeles. According to the most recent count conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the number of people experiencing homelessness in LA County has increased 4.1% from 2020, to more than 9,000.

Applied to property sales above $5 million, the tax will provide more than $600 million in revenue to invest in affordable housing and create a homelessness prevention fund including legal aid for people at risk of eviction.

“Measure ULA is unique because it was written by the community for the community,” said Sharma. “I am grateful for the opportunity to use my experience to assist in the creation and oversight of programs and policies that create more housing development without displacement, and that curb the rise of tenant harassment and evictions, experienced at a higher rate by communities of color and low-income families with children.”

The committee is composed of 15 community members, each filling a particular role and set of criteria. Sharma will fill the ninth seat, as an individual with at least five years of experience as a tenant rights or fair housing legal expert representing or advocating for tenants.

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