LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The city of Los Angeles has met a deadline to bring almost 6,200 new beds for indigent people online by Friday, according to documents filed Thursday in response to a federal lawsuit seeking to force officials to effectively deal with the homelessness crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A quarterly report shows that the new beds, which are capable of being occupied in interim or permanent housing throughout all 15 council districts, are located in hotels and motels leased by the city, churches, tiny home villages and elsewhere. There are also areas designated for safe parking for those living in vehicles.

Another 500 beds are expected to be provided by mid-December, according to the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding the city and county entered into in last June to house 6,700 unsheltered individuals. 

The target populations are people experiencing homelessness and living in encampments within 500 feet of freeways, homeless people who are 65 years of age or older and other vulnerable unsheltered individuals, according to the report.

The lawsuit was brought in March 2020 by the LA Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of downtown businesses and residents that is now asking for court intervention to require the defendants to provide a dramatic increase in housing for the thousands of people living in downtown's skid row by August.

A May 10 hearing is set before U.S. District Judge David O. Carter to discuss the matter, along with a request by the county to be dismissed from the suit.

If approved, the plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction would:

  • require the city and county to offer all persons suffering from mental illness within the skid row area emergency, interim or permanent housing and treatment;
  • force the city and county to adopt a plan within 30 days to ensure that the housing provided not just be concentrated in the so-called containment area of skid row, and at least 50% of the housing offered must be within an area to be defined by the court;
  • require the city and county to adopt mandatory, expedited time frames for the review and processing of all applications and approvals for new housing built specifically for the skid row population;
  • make available land for housing in all council and supervisorial districts, including unincorporated areas;
  • require the county to provide, or fund third parties to provide, support services to homeless residents who accept the offer of housing, and the defendants shall evenly split the cost of providing operational services;
  • require, within five days, that the city and county identify land owned by each entity respectively, totaling a minimum of 20 acres per entity, that may be utilized to support shelter or housing designated to satisfy obligations;
  • allow the court to consider land parcels in any seizure of property necessary to accomplish the goal if the defendants are unable or unwilling to comply; and
  • after adequate alternative shelter is offered, require the city to clear sidewalks, public streets and public places in the designated areas, and enforce anti-camping laws.