The City of Los Angeles approved a legal settlement to spend $3 billion to develop enough housing to shelter 16,000 homeless residents.
The approval by the City Council comes six weeks after the city agreed to settle its portion of a federal lawsuit by the LA Alliance for Human Rights, City News reported. The alliance is a coalition of Downtown property owners and residents who demand a legal solution to widespread homelessness.
On April 1, the city settled its portion of the March 2020 lawsuit, leaving the county open as a defendant.
Under the settlement, the city of L.A. agreed to spend as much as $3 billion over the next five years to create up to 16,000 beds or housing units for the homeless — enough to shelter 60 percent of its homeless residents.
Los Angeles has 36,000 homeless residents; the county has 66,000. City officials say the county is responsible for providing services and housing for homeless men and women with serious mental illness, substance-use issues or chronic physical illnesses.,
The lawsuit brought by the L.A. Alliance initially aimed to force local governments to “comprehensively” solve the homelessness crisis in Skid Row, an area in Downtown L.A.
The suit was then expanded to include homeless populations along freeways, then to the unhoused population at large.
The actual number of housing units and beds the city will be required to build under the settlement remains uncertain, pending the results of the recently conducted “point-in-time” countywide homeless count.
City officials estimate that meeting the terms of the settlement will require the addition of 14,000 to 16,000 beds, costing between $2.4 billion and $3 billion.
There was no immediate response from the county, which issued a statement in early March — in the midst of the settlement talks between the Alliance and the city — saying it is “willing to expand investments to resolve the county’s part in this lawsuit.”
The county noted it has committed more than $1 billion to the issue this fiscal year alone.
The L.A. Alliance said in a court filing it anticipates a second amended complaint against the county “will significantly streamline the case” – if and when the court signs off on the settlement with the City of Los Angeles.
[Fox 11] – Dana Bartholomew