A federal judge overseeing a sprawling lawsuit about homelessness in Los Angeles ordered the city and county on Tuesday to offer some form of shelter to the entire homeless population of skid row by October.
Judge David O. Carter granted a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs in the case last week and now is telling the city and county that they must find single women and unaccompanied children on skid row a place to stay within 90 days, followed by helping families within 120 days and finally, by Oct. 18, offering every homeless person on skid row housing or shelter.
“Los Angeles has lost its parks, beaches, schools, sidewalks, and highway systems due to the inaction of city and county officials who have left our homeless citizens with no other place to turn,” Carter wrote in a 110-page brief laced with quotes from Abraham Lincoln and an extensive history of how skid row was first created.
“All of the rhetoric, promises, plans, and budgeting cannot obscure the shameful reality of this crisis — that year after year, there are more homeless Angelenos, and year after year, more homeless Angelenos die on the streets.”
Carter also wrote that “after adequate shelter is offered,” he would allow the city to enforce laws that keep streets and sidewalks clear of tents so long as they’re consistent with previous legal rulings that have limited the enforcement of such rules.
Carter’s order comes the day after Mayor Eric Garcetti released his budget for the next fiscal year, which includes nearly $1 billion in spending on homelessness. The longtime federal Judge also ordered “that $1 billion, as represented by Mayor Garcetti, will be placed in escrow forthwith, with funding streams accounted for and reported to the Court within seven days.”
Carter has also asked for a number of reports from city and county officials about how money for combating homelessness has been and is currently being spent. He wants these reports within 90 days and has ordered a “cessation of sales, transfers by lease or covenant, of the over 14,000 city properties pending the report by the Controller Ron Galperin to the court, and all similarly situated properties held by the county pending the report by the county counsel.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.