Rifts surface as ambitious talks begin on sheltering L.A. County’s 60,000 homeless – Daily News

on May14
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Fault lines were revealed Wednesday as attorneys for homeless advocates, Los Angeles city leaders and county officials took part in the second day of talks in a federal court cased aimed at prodding public officials to shelter, and eventually house, the nearly 60,000 people who are homeless at a faster clip.

The potential rifts were revealed as Judge David Carter and special master Michele Martinez sought to motivate the parties to come together and reach a deal. It was the first time the parties met after an initial discussion on Wednesday, May 7, that included appearances by Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez.

Carter again expressed optimism, saying he feels there is enough “goodwill” among the parties to work out their differences. But Martinez, a former Santa Ana councilwoman, told the parties seated around tables of a makeshift courtroom set up at the Alexandria Hotel, in downtown Los Angeles, the risk they face if they can’t work things out:

“If there can’t be an agreement,” she said, “we will be forced to make a decision.”

L.A. City Council members agreed to come to the table to discuss a deal that would involve customizing targets based on the unique characteristics of each council district.

But lawyers for advocates pushed back and said they wanted a city/countywide structure for any potential court-supervised plan. Attorney Shayla Myers said the focus needed to be on increasing the overall housing supply in the city and not on giving each city council person different targets and goals.

For now, the discussions are expected to continue to revolve around structuring the agreement, for the city at least, by council district.

City leaders’ attempts to provide housing and shelter on a district-by-district basis — as part of such initiatives as Bridge Home emergency shelter project and Proposition HHH funded housing — have been uneven in recent years. Some districts have been able to site multiple shelters and permanent housing projects. Others have seen very few of these projects.

Homeless advocates are also opposed to congregate shelters being used, while L.A. city officials wanted to keep those types of beds on the table.

Each party also floated shelter and housing ideas that they believe could be scaled up to more people. Those include RV parks, conversion of motels, and housing assistance, as well as traditional interim shelters and permanent supportive housing.

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