Judge Signals Approval of City's Settlement of LA Homelessness Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES -- A federal judge today tentatively signed off on Los Angeles' proposed settlement with the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights in which the city will spend up to $3 billion over the next five years to develop as many as 16,000 beds or housing units for non-mentally ill members of the homeless population.


U.S. District Judge David Carter said at the conclusion of a 90-minute hearing in downtown Los Angeles that while the agreement was ``far from perfect,'' he was likely to give his approval and would issue his final ruling next week. The L.A. City Council voted 12-3 last month to approve thesettlement.


Carter is overseeing the March 2020 lawsuit in which L.A. Alliance -- a coalition of downtown business owners and sheltered and unsheltered residents -- accuses the city and county of Los Angeles of failing to do its part in addressing the homelessness crisis.


Co-defendant L.A. County is not participating in the agreement and has scheduled closed-door mediation efforts Monday in attempts to resolve the case without a trial.


The judge said that in the two years that the case has been pending, he has seen efforts by the parties to address the homelessness problem not just in the Skid Row area but throughout the city and county.

There is now ``an increasing effort to get thousands, not hundreds, off the streets,'' Carter said, adding that the city's settlement ``will not solve homelessness.''


While the proposed settlement does not include L.A. County, city officials said the county must be responsible for providing services and housing for homeless individuals with serious mental illness, substance-use issues or chronic physical illnesses.


Although the judge signaled at a previous settlement conference that he wants the parties to address the clearance of transients living near freeway overpasses and underpasses, that issue was not taken up Thursday.


According to the most recent homeless count, conducted prior to the pandemic in 2020, the countywide homeless population was 66,433, a nearly 13% increase from the previous year. The city of Los Angeles homeless population was 36,165, up 14% from the prior year.

Article Date: 
Thursday, June 9, 2022