COVID-19 Special Coverage
Federal judge orders Los Angeles to provide humane housing for thousands of homeless individuals
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Federal judge orders Los Angeles to provide humane housing for thousands of homeless individuals

A judge for the US District Court for the Central District of California ordered last week that the City and County of Los Angeles humanely relocate approximately 7,000 homeless individuals currently “camping near freeway overpasses, underpasses, and ramps.”

Judge David Carter found that living near highways exposes people to “toxic fumes, ‘hazardous waste concentrations of lead,’ car crashes,” and other dangers. Carter determined that money could not compensate for such irreparable harm to a person’s health, but that relocating people away from highways would prevent such dangers.

As part of the relocation efforts, all shelters and alternative housing options must allow sheltered individuals to maintain adequate social distancing to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, the provided options must have “adequate hygiene facilities” and must staff nurses and security personnel. Furthermore, the shelters and alternative housing options must allow sheltered individuals to keep their personal belongings.

In addition to these housing requirements, Carter also ordered the city and county to provide advance notice the affected individuals before beginning the relocation efforts.

The preliminary injunction will enter into effect at 12pm PDT on Friday, May 22 unless the court modifies the injunction.