A federal appeals court Thursday put a brief hold on a judge’s order that the city and county of Los Angeles must offer housing to the homeless population of Skid Row by the middle of October.
Attorneys for the county asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals two weeks ago for an emergency stay of U.S. District Judge David O. Carter’s April 20 housing order, arguing that the ruling is overly broad and causes more problems than it solves.
In its ruling, the appeals panel placed an administrative hold on the judge’s decree until June 15 in order to determine the impact of an evidentiary hearing scheduled later this month in the case.
Carter has scheduled proceedings in downtown Los Angeles on May 26 and 27 to discuss possible modifications to his order, financial arrangements to pay for homeless housing and other issues.
The appellate court also asked for additional briefs from all parties, with the goal of a 9th Circuit hearing in July.
Carter’s order set a timetable for offers of shelter to be made to about 2,000 homeless people living on the streets of Skid Row by October. The sprawling 50-block area just blocks from Staples Center contains one of the largest populations of indigent people in the nation.
The ruling is part of a lawsuit brought last year against the city and county by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a group made up of downtown business owners and Skid Row residents who argue that local government had mismanaged the homelessness crisis and wasted public money while the numbers of people living on the streets increases.
During more than a dozen federal court hearings, the lawsuit has become bogged down in bureaucratic snarls between the city and county, prompting Carter to deploy the power of the federal court to speed up efforts to get city sidewalks cleared and place homeless people into housing.
Earlier this week, Carter rejected the county’s bid to be dismissed from the case altogether, finding that the county’s claims of immunity are “inapplicable.”
L.A. Alliance lawyers have written that Skid Row is a “catastrophe created by the city and county” in which the city long ago adopted a policy of “physical containment” where the poor, disabled and mentally ill would be “contained” inside the delineated borders of downtown.
In response to the county’s initial request to stay his timetable, the judge reiterated his intention to keep the mandate in place and added new directives with an admonition that without a global settlement, his housing deadlines would remain in place.
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