Judge orders LA to find housing for Skid Row homeless within six months

Judge orders LA to find housing for Skid Row homeless within six months

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that the city must find housing for the entire population of Skid Row, its infamous homeless neighbourhood, within six months.

LA is suffering from a severe housing and homelessness crisis. As of January 2020, there were more than 64,000 homeless people in LA county, 41,000 of them located within city limits, many of them living in tents or shelters made from cardboard and plywood.

In a 110-page order that quoted Abraham Lincoln and traced the history of homelessness from slavery to today through the denial of mortgages to low-income families, zoning and gentrification, Judge David O Carter shamed officials for their failure to address homelessness in Los Angeles.

Judge O Carter gave them just 90 days to find shelters for all women and children on Skid Row and 180 days for the whole homeless population.

He wrote: “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. Los Angeles has lost its parks, beaches, schools, sidewalks, and highway systems due to the inaction of city and county officials.”

The Judge was ruling on a lawsuit initiated last year by a group of business owners, residents and community leaders, that accuses the county and city of failing to address the related crises of homelessness, hunger, crime and the coronavirus.

More than 1,380 homeless people died last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Releasing his budget prior to the ruling, Mayor Eric Garcetti promised almost $1 billion of funding to address homelessness. Of Judge O Carter’s ruling, Garcetti, said: “That would be an unprecedented pace not just for Los Angeles but any place that I’ve ever seen with homelessness in America.”

Campaigners say that they want officials to focus on permanent housing rather than temporary shelters, The Times reports.

Mayor Garcetti’s budget proposal would also provide $24 million for a universal basic income pilot programme that would give $1,000 a month to 2,000 families for a year to spend as they please.

Los Angeles would be the largest US city to trial universal basic income, which supporters say improves health outcomes and gives families a vital safety net.

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