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Skid Row, Los Angeles (Evan Symon for California Globe)

U.S. District Judge Orders Los Angeles To Offer Housing To All Skid Row Homeless By October

Mayor Garcetti’s $1 billion homeless funding proposal will also receive oversight by court

By Evan Symon, April 21, 2021 2:17 am

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered the city and country of Los Angeles on Tuesday to offer housing or shelter to the entire homeless population in the Skid Row neighborhood by October.

Skid Row, which has had large numbers of homeless people living there since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, currently has an average of 2,700 homeless people there on any given night. In recent years, the neighborhood has become infamous for being the epicenter of the Los Angeles and California homeless crisis due to the large number of tents and RVs crowding Skid Row sidewalks and streets, rampant drug use in about 70% of the Skid Row homeless population, and a high number of homeless deaths.

Judge Carter personally visited the area several times last year following a lawsuit against the city by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights. Last month, pressure for the city to assist the homeless in the neighborhood was intensified by the homeless advocacy groups filing a notice of intent for a preliminary injunction to order the city to house the homeless in Skid Row.

This led to Judge Carter’s Tuesday decision to issue a 110 page injunction, saying that Los Angeles had not only failed to confront the homeless crisis, but said that homelessness in the city and county had been exacerbated by racism.

“The city and county of Los Angeles created a legacy of entrenched structural racism, leaving Black people, especially Black women, effectively abandoned on the streets,” Judge Carter wrote on Tuesday. “Such governmental inertia has affected not only Black Angelenos, not only homeless Angelenos, but all Angelenos — of every race, gender identity, and social class. 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.”

“Virtually every citizen of Los Angeles has borne the impacts of the city and county’s continued failure to meaningfully confront the crisis of homelessness. The time has come to redress these wrongs and finish another measure of our nation’s unfinished work.”

“Today near Skid Row are thriving neighborhoods — namely the Arts District and Little Tokyo District. As these districts edge closer to the boundaries of containment, police presence within Skid Row grows stronger. For all the governmental declarations of success that we are fed, citizens themselves see the heartbreaking misery of the homeless and the degradation of their city and county. 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.”

In the injunction, Judge Carter laid out the housing plan, saying that single women and children must be offered housing by July, families by August, with everyone else by October 18th.

Carter also said that Mayor Eric Garcetti’s $1 Billion homeless proposal in his State of the City Address less than 24 hours before would be placed in escrow, with all funding and spending being reported to the court within a week should it pass. This would give the funding oversight and bypass bureaucracy, something which Garcetti, according to the judge, did not do despite being given emergency powers by the City Charter.

Many community leaders and homeless advocates celebrated the ruling on Tuesday, noting that the court will finally force the city to come up with a more viable homeless plan.

“Skid Row is one of the worst areas for the homeless today,” explained homeless shelter organizer Sandra McCall to the Globe. “Today’s injunction will do a lot of good for a lot of people. I mean, can you imagine Skid Row without all the tents? With visible sidewalks? With the formerly homeless now with a place to live? They’re making this happen and giving people dignity again!”

However, many also noted that, despite the strong oversight by the court on the city’s homeless spending, many other parts of the injunction are broken.

“I don’t think Carter knows exactly what the hell he did or what he thinks his power is,” said William Montero, a homeless advocate who helps find affordable housing and jobs for the homeless in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Glendale, in a Globe interview. “It’s really just a bunch of angry yelling but with no teeth. The sentiment behind giving thousands of people housing is great, but there are no standards whatsoever here. The city can just say they asked everyone, and homeless people can say they were never asked. This happens all the time, and the injunction just assumes everyone will do everything.”

“No, I’ve seen what happens in other cities with homeless like San Antonio and Phoenix and Chicago. Whenever one of these rulings or laws are passed down, they’ll keep it up for a few months, get the neediest people shelter, then say they did the rest. Because there is no one policing the ruling. You do a little, get some good press, then it fizzles out and everyone says they did it or that a lot of people refused help. Every time. And seeing how the judge in this case didn’t hand this down until after Garcetti proposed that huge homeless spending, and that there were no outlined consequences, it looks like this was just a ruling of the moment rather than to try and get longer change.”

“I’m happy with the oversight part by the court. LA will need to say where all the money is going, which is helpful. But this is just like any other homeless initiative in LA or elsewhere in the US since the Great Recession ended – all bark no bite.”

The injunction, barring any  appeals from Los Angeles, will likely begin transitioning people out of Skid Row who agree to housing soon.

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16 thoughts on “U.S. District Judge Orders Los Angeles To Offer Housing To All Skid Row Homeless By October

  1. “The city and county of Los Angeles created a legacy of entrenched structural racism, leaving Black people, especially Black women, effectively abandoned on the streets,

    what Bravo Sierra.. OK Your judgeship / Lord !!.. We’re going to start with your Hood and property.. I’m sure you will welcome them and so will your neighbors.. Clearly another racist demonRat who can’t separate racial politics from reality.. and has a severe mental illness called liberalism.. LBJ has given these creeps over 7 TRILLION $$$ of our money through hios program called.. The Great Society … But yet. they still live on the streets. Can’t get and keep jobs and blk males which are 6% of the population account for 51% of ALL homicides now.. I want my tax money back !!!

      1. I’m with you two, this is ridiculous. IT’S NOT ABOUT HOUSING!
        It’s about The Homeless Industrial Complex.
        Everyone is getting rich off of it except for you!

  2. I have a plan:
    1. Take one of the so called Covid Hospitals that Gov. Newsom leased for the extra beds he never used. Turn it into an acute Behavioral Wellness Center / Drug Rehab Center. If that is not available, take county/state land and build a MASH type unit.

    2. Triage. Sort out the unhoused by affliction.

    3. Sober them up. Do not cater to their drug problems with free delivery as San Francisco has been doing during the lockdown.

    4. For those who qualify for supportive housing, assist them in obtaining it wherever available and affordable. Sorry, but no one has a right to choose where they want to live when they are not paying for it.

    5. For those who will not agree or refuse help, make them a ward of the state and place them in a facility to protect them and other members of society.

    I bet that billion Garcetti wants to spend would cover it.

    Enough is enough. These unhoused adults need some tough love and help to clean them up.
    The issue is not solely a lack of adequate housing.

  3. One Fed Up Cali Girl (OFUCG) has it right again. If she runs for office, I will definitely support her. Skid row LA was bad back in the 1970’s when I worked with some social workers in Chinatown. Nothing has gotten better – just worse. This incompetent judge seems to think “out of sight, out of mind” is a legitimate policy.

    1. Agreed…

      How come our elected officials cannot articulate anything concrete like this???

      Oh right, because they’re “community organizers” who have zero real world experience….

    2. Well, thank you Raymond. Common sense is lacking in California government these days.

      I would not qualify to run in California politics. Unlike Governor Newsom, I do not have an Aunt Nancy in my family. I also do not share the raw ambition and talent that someone like Kamala Harris exhibited to get ahead, besides Willie is not my type😳

    3. Also appreciate Cali Girl and her welcome good sense and sparkling personality, like a ray of sunshine in these difficult times. 🙂

      1. It is nice to be part of a community of where people are polite and can share their viewpoints whether they be agreeable or contrarian. ShowandTell, I appreciate the wisdom you impart on a regular basis. Everyone (Comrades) commenting brings something unique to the table.

        It would be wonderful if our representatives would value common sense when crafting bills. I do not think that is too much to ask, is it?😉

  4. House them in the empty shells that were once schools throughout the state of California. Might as well put those idle buildings to use.

  5. The question is will this housing be million dollar apartments or $5,000 a month tents? Inquiring minds want to know.

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