LA ordered to provide housing to all homeless residents on Skid Row

The plaintiffs in the cases against both the city and county of Los Angeles are reportedly "ecstatic."

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A judge has ordered the city of Los Angeles to offer shelter to everyone on its impoverished Skid Row — its storied neighborhood in downtown L.A. that has been known for its homeless population since the 1930s — by this fall.

The order by federal Judge David O. Carter grants a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs in a large lawsuit about homelessness.

Judge David O. Carter has ordered the city of Los Angeles to offer shelter to everyone on its impoverished Skid Row —its storied neighborhood in downtown L.A. that has been known for its homeless population since the 1930s — by this fall. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

According to The Los Angeles Times, the city and Los Angeles County are being told to “offer single women and unaccompanied children on skid row a place to stay within 90 days, help families within 120 days and finally, by Oct. 18, offer every homeless person on skid row housing or shelter.”

The order also calls for the city to put $1 billion in an escrow account to address the homelessness issue.

Staffers at the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, the plaintiffs in the cases against both the city and county of Los Angeles, are reported to be “ecstatic,” their legal representative telling The Times rulings like this in Orange County were why Judge Carter was who they sought out.

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“This is exactly the kind of aggressive emergency action that we think is necessary on the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles,” said Matthew Umhofer, whose clients comprise a group of activist residents and business operators from downtown Los Angeles.

Carter’s ruling says that Los Angeles “wrongly focused on permanent housing at the expense of more temporary shelter,” noting that development delays contributed to exacerbating the homelessness issue.

“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,” the judge wrote in his 110-page brief.

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“All of the rhetoric, promises, plans and budgeting,” Carter maintained, “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.”

Los Angeles County has an enormously high rates of homelessness, with more than 4,600 people living on Skid Row as of January 2020 — nearly 2,500 in large shelters and another 2,000-plus in other areas on its streets.

More than 1,300 homeless people died in Los Angeles County in 2020.

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Judge Carter also ordered the county to offer “support services to all homeless residents who accept the offer of housing,” including placements in “appropriate emergency, interim, or permanent housing and treatment services.”

It is unclear if the city and county of Los Angeles will push back against the order. But attorneys for both commented that they are “reviewing” the order and “evaluating” options, including a possible appeal.

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