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Judge Carter Is Ready To Force LA Leaders To Deal With Homelessness As Coronavirus Hits

Homeless encampments in Koreatown, photographed on June 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (James Bernal/KPCC)
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Judge David Carter, famous for compelling Orange County cities to shelter their homeless, is now overseeing a case against both the city and county of Los Angeles.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Los Angeles federal court by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of Skid Row area business owners, formerly homeless, and disabled city dwellers who contend the apparent lack of services and alleged negligence on the part of city and county officials has resulted in a multitude of dangers in the area, both before and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last night Garcetti announced that 6,000 beds would be provided for homeless people in 42 city-owned rec centers. But it seems this plan is just one thing in the broader context of what the judge has in mind.

In an emergency hearing this morning, Carter convened a number of top officials including Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger, L.A. police and fire chiefs, and L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, among others.

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Besides the myriad of local officials, Carter also convened regional leadership from the Salvation Army, which has offered up 27 locations in Southern California for emergency shelter.

Also in the courtroom were directors of the Illumination Foundation, who have also offered thousands of beds in portable trailers.

Carter, a U.S. District judge, is known for his often hands-on administration of cases, most notably in Orange County, where he oversaw the opening of homeless shelters following the removal of thousands of people in an encampment along the Santa Ana River in Anaheim.

Today’s hearing opens the door for the city and county to sign on to the consent decree that has led to Orange County cities expanding their shelter system.


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