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Housing and Homelessness

LA County To Commit $236M Toward Services For Unhoused Angelenos To Settle Long-Running Lawsuit

A woman on crutches comes out of a struck with text on it reading "THE SHOWER HOPE," an icon of a shower, an icon of a green heart with a giant water drop inside it, and a web address that begins "www.theshower" before being cut off by a Black man in a green shirt standing in front of it. To the right, a light brown-skinned man stands wearing a light blue T-shirt.
Keith Jones holds the door open for a disabled woman who just used the facilities provided by Shower of Hope, a program that provides mobile showers to homeless people.
(Raquel Natalicchio
/
for CalMatters)
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Los Angeles County officials have finally reached a settlement in a federal homelessness lawsuit filed more than two years ago.

As part of the settlement reached Monday with the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights — a group that includes housed and unhoused downtown residents and business owners — county officials agreed to put $236 million toward outreach and services for unhoused Angelenos.

The county’s commitment brings an end to the group’s long-running lawsuit, first filed in March of 2020. The L.A. Alliance accused county and city of L.A. officials of showing negligence toward the deepening homelessness crisis and wasting public funds on failed policies.

At a press conference, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said the settlement will fund a range of services for people entering shelters.

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“It includes everything from intensive case management, mental health and substance use services,” Mitchell said. “If it's job training, if they need family reunification, education, childcare — the full complement of the kind of services that the county provides will be made available.”

The city of L.A. already settled its portion of the lawsuit back in April, agreeing to create enough shelter for 60% of unsheltered residents. The county’s settlement adds funding for the services offered to people who accept one of the city’s thousands of new shelter beds.

Matthew Umhofer, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said the settlement will increase the number of outreach teams working on the streets and will add 300 more beds for those suffering from acute mental health disorders and addiction issues.

“But most importantly,” Umhofer said, “this deal provides something that has been desperately missing on this issue for decades: real accountability.”

Compliance with the terms of the settlement will be overseen by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, who also oversaw efforts to shelter unhoused residents in Orange County.

The new settlement brings the city and county’s total obligation to roughly $3 billion in new homelessness funding over the next five years.

The total expenditure will depend on annual counts of the unhoused population that could increase city and county funding obligations if the population continue to grow.

Last week, the region’s count reported a 4% rise in the unhoused population across L.A. County during the pandemic. Despite funding increases and eviction protections implemented during the pandemic, more than 69,000 people in the region are without permanent housing.

“The curve is flattening because of the collective work that we are doing,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, speaking at the event announcing the settlement, which was held in a South L.A. homeless housing development. “Now is the time to really put all of our forces together to push that curve down.”

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