LA City/County Says More Than 335 Homeless People Housed Since June

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - More than 335 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles have left the streets and entered housing since June, according to a report obtained today as part of a city and county agreement to provide beds for the indigent under the threat of the coronavirus.

Of the target homeless populations, shelter has been provided for 20 people previously located within 500 feet of a freeway, 36 indigent individuals aged 65 or older, and 282 otherwise vulnerable people during the period from June 16 to Thursday, according to the city's Homeless Roadmap Quarterly Report.

The document reports the type of interventions being developed in each council district, the number of beds provided in each, the status of the projects, and the number of people from each of the three target populations helped to move indoors. During the current period, interventions opened by the city have a capacity of 857 beds.

The report, filed late Thursday in Los Angeles federal court, is the first issued since Los Angeles city and county officials resolved a deadlock that held up action in an agreement to provide 6,700 beds and services for the region's most vulnerable residents.

A push to evict homeless persons living beneath or near area freeways gathered momentum Tuesday when the city began posting notices near Ventura (101) Freeway underpasses in the San Fernando Valley. The notices indicate that mandatory relocations from all areas within 500 feet of the 101 Freeway between Lindley Avenue and Valley Circle Boulevard would be required by Oct. 27.

The notices posted by the city refer explicitly to the homelessness lawsuit, referencing it by name and case number. The notices also state that representatives from Los Angeles federal court are overseeing the eviction.

The Los Angeles Community Action Network and Los Angeles Catholic Worker -- intervenors who are parties to the lawsuit that precedes the action -- on Friday requested a status conference “to give the parties and the public the opportunity to obtain some clarification'' on the city's plans for the relocations.

The notices throughout Council District 3 state that effective Oct. 27, “anyone sitting, lying or lodging within 500 feet of the 101 freeway between Lindley and Valley Circle will be required to relocate.''

The intervenors point out in their filing that a May 22 preliminary injunction -- which indicated that city municipal codes would be enforced to keep people away from underpasses -- was vacated by the court in June, “and there is no order currently in place in this case.''

As for those facing eviction, they are being offered short-term motel vouchers, the funding for which is coming from COVID-19 relief funds, according to the intervenors.

“The intention is to transfer individuals to existing bridge housing, once shelter become available, but even these bridge housing beds will be existing beds, not new beds created pursuant to the agreement between the city and the county,'' the filing states.

According to a binding term sheet filed this week, the city is responsible for creating 5,300 new beds by April and 700 additional new beds by December 2021, for a total of 6,000 new beds. The city also must provide an additional 700 beds by April that “may be beds previously captured in anagreement or plan between the city and county,'' according to the county's notice.

To assist in funding services for the 6,000 new beds, the county will pay the city up to $60 million per year for five years. The county will pay to the city a one-time bonus of $8 million if the 5,300 new bed target is reached within 10 months.

The first payment of $17.6 million to the city was made on Sept. 1 in compliance with the term sheet.

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. wrote that, with Christmas fast approaching, “both governments need to act now. History should not be doomed to repeat itself here, and the court is committed to ensuring that the city and county work together'' to bring the homeless off the streets.

The report is part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of Skid Row-area business owners, formerly homeless and disabled city dwellers, who accuse the city and county of dragging their feet in not doing enough to get the homeless off city streets and into housing -- especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Getty Images

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