A federal judge overseeing a lawsuit concerning homelessness in Los Angeles has ordered the city and county to find shelter for all homeless Skid Row residents within 180 days.
In his 110-page order, Judge David O. Carter slammed city and county officials for their inability to control the city’s homeless crisis. Homelessness in Los Angeles has grown so large, nearly every neighborhood in the region has at least one homeless encampment.
“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 wrote in granting a preliminary injunction sought by the plaintiffs last week according to the L.A. Times.
The judge wrote his opinion a day after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a State of the City address pledged to spend $1 billion to get citizens off the street. Judge Carter ordered the $1 billion be placed in escrow with a spending plan “accounted for and reported to the Court within seven days.”
The judge also mandated the city auditor to examine all public money that has been spent to fight homelessness. That includes a 2016 bond measure that was approved by voters to create 10,000 housing units over a decade.
Last year, NPR reported that more than 66,000 people in Los Angeles live on the street, in a vehicle, or in a shelter in 2019 A 12.7% increase from 2019. Homeless encampments were once only in Skid Row, but as the problem has grown, encampments have stretched out significantly.
The city and the county must now find shelter for all women and children within 90 days and every homeless person in the downtown area must have a place to stay by October.
L.A. has tried to deal with its homeless population. Safe Parking LA, which was founded in 2016, provides confidential, daily-monitored parking places for those who are living in their vehicles. Another plan to build tiny homes out of shipping containers was introduced last year.
Skip Miller, an attorney representing L.A. County, told NBC News the judge’s order goes well beyond what the plaintiffs asked for in their injunction.
“We’re now evaluating our options, including the possibility of an appeal,” Miller said, adding that the county has spent millions on “proven strategies that have produced measurable results throughout the region, not just on Skid Row.”