LA County Loses Bid to Dismiss Homelessness Neglect Lawsuit

MARTIN MACIAS JR The Courthouse News- Read original article here

The organization LA Alliance for Human Rights sued the city and county of Los Angeles in March 2020 seeking local government-provided care for homeless people and swift construction of shelter and housing options for the unhoused. The group says the county fails to fund construction of a sufficient amount of housing for the poor and homeless and does not provide the appropriate level of health care needed for the growing unhoused population.

A month after the suit was filed, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered city and county officials to house everyone living in the Skid Row community — a 50-square block, open-air encampment — by October.

The Central District of California judge also ordered county officials to audit funds allocated for fighting homelessness and for the city to place $1 billion in local funds in an impound account.

Attorneys for the county argued Carter’s ruling would unnecessarily push more people into crowded shelters or direct public funds to develop more temporary shelters instead of permanent housing.

The county also argued Skid Row is located in the city and authority to clear sidewalks there lies with city, not county, officials.

In a virtual hearing Monday on the county’s motion, Skip Miller, the county’s outside counsel, told Carter the court is in no position to dictate the county’s spending decisions in the fight against homelessness.

But in an 11-page ruling Tuesday, Carter rejected the county’s arguments and denied the motion to dismiss, writing that the court is well within its power to act if the government fails to address a crisis on the scale of what is present in LA County. Read more