A federal judge has said he wants to meet with the new mayor of Los Angeles once election results are final before approving the settlement of a lawsuit over local governments’ response to the homelessness crisis.
U.S. District Judge David Carter said he will meet with either Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) or billionaire developer Rick Caruso–once the final mayoral votes are tallied–and the chair of the county Board of Supervisors before signing off on the agreement.
During a hearing in federal court discussing the proposed settlement, Carter indicated that the city, and especially the county, “can do better” in figuring out how to bring increased housing, outreach and supportive services to the thousands of people living on the streets.
In its March 2020 lawsuit, the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights accused the city and county of failing to do its part in addressing the crisis. The city’s settlement with the coalition was announced in April, but the county waited until September to announce its preliminary agreement with the L.A. Alliance coalition of downtown Los Angeles business owners and sheltered and unsheltered residents.
Carter acknowledged the amount of work it took for the often-contentious city and county to come to an agreement, but suggested that more work needs to be done to have a stronger impact on homelessness in the region.
A new court date was not immediately scheduled.
The county’s proposed settlement would commit $236 million to fund interim and permanent housing and supportive services, including in the treatment areas of mental health and substance use disorder that were a key aspect of the plaintiffs’ allegations in the case. The county also agreed to pay the city $53 million during the first year, and up to $60 million per year for the following four years, to finance 6,700 beds for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.
According to the most recent homeless count by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, there are 69,144 unhoused people living in Los Angeles County, 41,980 of them within the city. Less than half of the homeless are believed to be suffering from either mental illness, drug addiction or both.