Alameda County residents will decide in November whether they want to pay an additional half-cent on top of the current 9.25% sales tax in the county.
County supervisors adopted a proposed ordinance unanimously Tuesday at their meeting in Oakland to send the question to voters.
The proposal could raise about $150 million each year for the life of the tax, which would be 10 years. The tax would go into effect on April 1, 2021.
Money would go toward essential county services such as mental health, housing, addressing homelessness, and among other services, job training.
"With the COVID crisis and so many out of work in our county, our system will have to do more with less money," Supervisor Wilma Chan said in a statement. "The tax increase is necessary to provide essential safety net services."
Five cities in the county already have a sales tax of 9.75%. In those cities, the sales tax would be 10.25% if the measure is approved.
The measure has been in the works for over two years and hundreds of people have worked on it, said Sharon Cornu, executive director of St. Mary's Center, a nonprofit in West Oakland that strives to improve the quality of life for seniors and others.
Cornu said they've seen seniors pushed into homelessness.
"There are skyrocketing housing costs," she said, which has led to homelessness for some.
Cornu said the tax helps people who would otherwise be displaced, some of whom have lived in the county their whole lives.