LA Alliance deal on homelessness is a win for Los Angeles – Press Telegram
After years of costly but ineffective efforts to address homelessness, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors were forced to change their approach. The lawsuit, filed by the Los Angeles Human Rights Alliance, called on the city and county to jointly and comprehensively address the crisis by creating thousands of new beds, expanding mental illness and addiction services and treatment, and reducing and eliminating encampments.
Over the past two months, the city and county have settled those matters and submitted themselves to federal court jurisdiction for the next five years. This is a historic and transformative agreement that directs billions to the region’s number one challenge and demands efficiency and accountability.
Because of the Alliance’s work, the number of people living on the streets without shelter or treatment will be significantly reduced in Los Angeles.
Forcing the City of Los Angeles to create more adequate beds within a deadline when they’ve been obsessed with creating unaffordable permanent housing while thousands die on the streets is a victory.
Getting Los Angeles County to add needed psychiatric beds and expand its services and treatment for the addicted and mentally ill is a win.
Forcing the city to return the streets to all Angelinos is a win.
And perhaps most important of all, hold both the city and the county accountable for delivering on what they’ve committed to — not by pledging elected officials or producing a detailed report that will remain unread — but by holding the party accountable an invested and active federal judge is a win.
The work of the Los Angeles Alliance is far from over as the countdown begins for the next five years of efficiency and accountability. Regardless of who is the mayor, council president or chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the Los Angeles region won a big victory to help those left without housing, provide relief to residents and businesses, and restore a sense of order to Los Angeles.
The settlement won by the Alliance establishes jurisdiction in federal court so that any future lawsuits filed by the activist lawyers who have been aggravating the situation for years will be heard by the same court. Any failure to comply with city or county requirements will be handled by the same court. And nothing prevents our attorneys from challenging ordinances that interfere with the civil rights of Angelenos to live without mountains of trash and human waste on the sidewalks, assaults and harassment by raw people, and our homeless neighbors languishing on the streets with little to no help from side of the government.
The Los Angeles Alliance is working to complete specific milestones and timelines to add beds, provide services and treatment, and clear the streets block by block. The results of these advances will not come overnight. And we are waiting for challenges. That’s why now, more than ever, we need the public to understand the changes ahead and support our efforts to hold the city and county accountable.
What began as a group of angry residents, business owners, and homeless people getting riled up by government agencies has become the most significant policy change to affect our communities in decades. It was enacted to challenge politicians and end the status quo. The LA Alliance invites you to join us as we roll up our sleeves and continue our fight for the soul of Los Angeles.
Paul Webster is the executive director of the LA Alliance for Human Rights. The Los Angeles Alliance is a grassroots organization of businesses, communities, and homeless individuals working to change the City and County of Los Angeles’ homelessness policies. It can be found at www.la-alliance.org.