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An emergency hearing in a federal lawsuit about the conditions of the homeless during the coronavirus outbreak happened this morning.
The activist group, L.A Alliance for Human Rights, alongside a group of Skid-Row area business owners, disabled city dwellers, and those who used to be homeless, filed the lawsuit last week because they were concerned about the lack of action taken to protect the homeless population as the Covid-19 pandemic continued to spread throughout the state.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barge were among those ordered by Judge David Carter to attend this emergency hearing.
"The homeless population is one of the most vulnerable at this time, and there is significant risk of contracting the virus among the homeless in the city," Carter wrote in his order setting the hearing. "The court believes an emergency status conference in this case is necessary and would be beneficial, even though defendants have not yet appeared in the action nor responded to the complaint."
This hearing comes a day after Garcetti announced that the city ordered a series of emergency measures to get thousands of the homeless people on the streets into temporary shelters.
These temporary shelters would bring as many as 1,600 beds spread out at 13 recreation centers across the city by the end of the week. The city's goal is to have 6,000 beds available in 42 recreation centers in the upcoming weeks.
Before attending the hearing, Garcetti said he was looking forward to court hearing with Carter because of his record of taking care of the homeless population. Most notably, he oversaw the opening on homeless shelters in Orange County after there was a removal of thousands on people in a Santa Ana River encampment.
"I think that he (Carter) has shown in Orange County that no neighborhood, no city, should ever say `not in my backyard,"' Garcetti said. "He's been a real strong, common-sense person who's helped places like Santa Ana get shelters up in 27 days. And I really look forward to working with Judge Carter.
"I'm excited to be there, and I and the chair of the county Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger, will be there at the onset (of the hearing)," Garcetti said. "He's asked us to come. I welcome that. It's close by. We can practice social distancing, and we'll look at ways he can help during this crisis.
"I've asked my team in the midst of this, when we started this, we aren't just going to look at what we can do to get people off the street now, but what can we do to make sure as many of those exits when this crisis is done don't just return to the street, but hopefully return to housing," the mayor said.
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