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Hope Street Submits Amicus Brief in LA Alliance on Human Rights Case

Hope Street Coalition has submitted an amicus (friend of the court) brief to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the L.A. Alliance v City and County of Los Angeles case.  This is the case where Judge David O. Carter has ordered the City and County of Los Angeles to come up with a way to shelter the unhoused of Skid Row.  Los Angeles City and County have appealed this order to the 9th Circuit Court.  This case has the entire homelessness industry watching and, depending on how the Court rules, could be a significant game changer. 

Judge Carter issued an injunction ordering the City of Los Angeles to escrow $1 billion to shelter those on Skid Row.  Many, including Andy Bales of Union Rescue Mission, thought Carter’s order is the right move to push back against the entrenched interests leaving people to suffer and die on Los Angeles’ streets.  

A few weeks ago, Andy asked me to submit an amicus brief that would support Judge Carter’s order.  I worked with a  wonderful law firm and we focused on the need to address the lack of mental health treatment for those on the streets.  Judge Carter ordered LA County to audit the number of mental health and addiction treatment beds in the county.  He also ordered the creation of 1,508 sub acute treatment beds for the unhoused mentally ill and addicted. Hope Street’s brief supports those actions.  

The Hope Street brief makes these important points: 

  1. Hope Street supports the District Court’s Order because it demands immediate action and accountability from the City and County of Los Angeles to provide shelter and treatment of the mentally ill and addicted on Skid Row.
  2. By focusing on providing permanent supportive housing as a sole means of reducing homelessness, the unhoused homeless suffering from mental illness and addiction have been dying and suffering on a massive scale. Judge Carter’s order will be an important first step to changing the status quo.
  3. Permanent supportive housing cannot provide the positive clinical outcomes for those that make up the majority of those experiencing homelessness—the mentally ill and addicted.  Due to the lack of investment, and the regulations of federal and state funds to address homelessness, the population that makes up the largest share of the unhoused will continue to be underserved, unless the City and County are required to meet their treatment needs.

Read the brief in its entirety here.

By Paul Webster

Paul is an advocate, legislative and policy expert, and the Director of Hope Street Coalition. Hope Street focuses on the intersection of homelessness, mental illness, and chronic addiction. He has worked at the local, state, and federal levels most recently as a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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