Federal judge expresses frustration over lack of transparency from LA County on homeless efforts

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Friday, April 5, 2024
Judge expresses frustration over LA County's homeless efforts
A federal judge expressed frustration over what he described Los Angeles County officials' lack of transparency over the county's homeless efforts.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Coordination between the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County is key to solving homelessness, as the city provides beds and the county provides services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment.

But federal Judge David O. Carter expressed frustration Thursday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom over what he described as a lack of transparency from L.A. County.

Carter ordered city and county officials to meet every day until they reach an agreement that will bring accountability to how dollars are spent to address homelessness.

"There are people being moved into hotel rooms right now under the mayor's Inside Safe program, but services are not showing up for them," said Matthew Umhofer, an attorney for the LA Alliance for Human Rights.

Since 2020, Carter has been tasked with presiding over a lawsuit brought by the nonprofit organization, a group of business owners, residents, and members of the unhoused population upset over how taxpayer dollars are being spent on homelessness.

Earlier this month, the judge ordered an audit of all homelessness assistance programs funded or conducted by the city of Los Angeles which includes Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe program.

On Tuesday, the city of Los Angeles posted on a public website invoices related to their efforts against homelessness.

Inside Safe is now part of an audit ordered by federal Judge David O. Carter of all homelessness assistance programs funded or conducted by the city of Los Angeles.

"The mayor showed up in court just a week-and-a-half ago and responded to the court's inquiries and made assurances about transparency and accountability," said Umhofer. "The county hasn't done that yet, so what we had today was the court expressing frustration that we're getting a level of transparency and accountability from the city that we're not yet seeing from the county."

At one point, the judge said the county is not tracking homeless money and should follow the lead of the mayor of Los Angeles, even suggesting the chair of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Lindsey Horvath, come to court herself.

Carter is now in the process of deciding who will conduct the audit of the city of Los Angeles' homeless efforts. City Controller Kenneth Mejia is also conducting his own audit of Inside Safe.