What to Know
- A long-running lawsuit demands local government find shelter for thousands throughout the area.
- The settlement is expected to be announced Friday morning.
- U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered a series of mandatory settlement talks.
Los Angeles city officials and members of the LA Alliance for Human Rights are expected to announce the settlement Friday morning of a long-running lawsuit demanding that local government find shelter for the thousands of people camping on sidewalks and near freeways throughout the area.
A brief notice of the news conference said Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and other city officials would help make the announcement along with LA Alliance representatives.
Tellingly, there was no mention of any Los Angeles County officials participating in the announcement. The county was also named as a defendant in the March 2020 complaint, but recently withdrew from closed-door settlement talks in Los Angeles federal court. It was not immediately clear what role, if any, the county played in the settlement.
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In February, U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered a series of mandatory settlement talks to begin after city and county representatives indicated they had no sense of when or if they might strike a deal that would lead to a shared agreement with the association of downtown residents, homeless individuals and property owners which filed the suit.
Over the past six weeks, city and county representatives separately shuffled in and out of Carter's chambers for multi-hour meetings -- with little progress to report until last week when there were indications that a settlement was in the works.
At least twice, a seemingly exasperated Carter requested the presence of Garcetti and Martinez at the confidential meetings.
During open court hearings, Carter has referred several times to a "historic schism" between the city and county that had apparently stymied previous settlement efforts.
The two entities were ostensibly supposed to come to a compromise on funding and other issues before an agreement with the L.A. Alliance could be reached.
County representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last month, Supervisor Kathryn Barger told City News Service she hoped that settlement talks would yield "a shared county and city commitment that includes a combination of services and housing options along with appropriate enforcement."
Carter has said more than once that he was increasingly concerned about "inertia" on the defense side, and ordered the discussions to try and put an end to months without meaningful progress.
The lawsuit brought by the L.A. Alliance had been on hold almost since it was filed with the goal of forcing local government to "comprehensively" deal with the homelessness crisis downtown.
Its focus has appeared to shift from the Skid Row area, the thousands of transients living under or next to the region's freeways and the county's entire homeless population.
The actual number of those affected remains in flux because an accurate count of the area's unhoused was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plaintiffs argued that wherever the homeless are located, services have not kept pace with the ever-expanding crisis.