Lawsuit seeks to force LA city, county to provide more homeless services, beds

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Local activists are suing the city and county of Los Angeles to establish a legal mandate to provide beds and services for thousands of homeless people.

The lawsuit filed by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights opens with strong language. It reads "People are perishing in the streets at a rate of three per day while the City and County of Los Angeles have tried but failed to stem this tide of human tragedy."

"We are filing in federal court to require the city and the county to provide beds, by the thousands, including wraparound services for homeless residents in a more effective, more efficient and comprehensive manner," said attorney Elizabeth Mitchell. "We have current and formerly homeless folks, standing together with residents and small businesses and community leaders to really stand up and tell the city and the county this needs to change."

In a statement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's office told Eyewitness News:

"The City Attorney will review the lawsuit. Los Angeles is responding to this homelessness crisis by providing additional services and building 30 temporary shelters and 7,500 units of permanent housing for our homeless neighbors as quickly as possible. In addition, we are working with Governor Newsom and State Legislators to call for an annual funding commitment for affordable housing and homelessness programs so we can assist more Angelenos in need."

Critics say they want to see more beds faster and believe getting the court involved will enforce consequential deadlines.

"The solutions produced by our civic leaders are too few, too expensive and they take too long. We are out of time, and out of patience," said Mitchell. "To put this in context, using only one quarter, actually less than one quarter of HHH funds, the city could provide a bed for every homeless person in its entire jurisdiction."

Both the city and county declined to comment on the litigation.
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