The preliminary settlement could end a years-long lawsuit between Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, and regional homeless advocacy organizations.
Los Angeles County officials have announced a preliminary legal settlement intended to improve the conditions of homeless residents.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the City of Los Angeles had announced its own settlement in April, promising to provide thousands of beds and housing units to accommodate its urban poor.
However, the County had refused to join the settlement, declining to cooperate or pledge additional resources to assist the region’s homeless population.
NBC Los Angeles notes that the City of L.A., which does not have its own health department, had earlier contended that the county should provide services and housing for homeless residents.
On Monday, county officials announced that they had reached a preliminary legal settlement with the plaintiffs, potentially signaling an end to the years-long lawsuit.
The deal, adds the Times, is still subject to final approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The agreement must also be authorized by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who has overseen the case from its inception.
Under the terms of the proposal, Los Angeles County will fund additional services at interim and permanent housing that the city has built or will build as part of the previously announced settlement.
“The city can construct housing. The county can provide services for people in that housing,” L.A. administrative officer Matt Szabo said in a statement.
“This is what this agreement binds us to do,” he said. “It sets a standard I hope we can build upon and use as a template moving forward.”
Matthew Umhofer, an attorney for the L.A. Alliance—a coalition of advocates for the homeless, the impoverished, property owners, and small businesses—praised the organization’s efforts in reaching an agreement.
“We fought for our clients, and yes, at times we fought against the city and the county,” Umhofer said. “But we’ve fought for our brothers and sisters on the streets and for the soul of this city and county.”
According to Umhofer, the five-year settlement will oblige Los Angeles County to add more members to its homeless outreach team.
The implementation of the agreement will be overseen by Judge Carter.
“This provides real accountability,” Umhofer said.
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said that, with the county now agreeing to collaborate, L.A. may be able to better assist its large homeless population.
“The city simply cannot solve this crisis on our own,” Martinez said. “The county cannot solve this crisis on their own.”
“Today, with this new agreement, we’ll be able to reach a turning point in this crisis,” she said.