Help for the homeless on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles

L.A. settles homeless rights case, likely limiting ability to clear skid row streets

By GALE HOLLANDMAR 06, 2019 | 7:20 PM

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to settle a pivotal and contentious case on the property rights of homeless people — a decision that is likely to limit the seizure and destruction of encampments on skid row.

The 10-2 vote authorizes City Attorney Mike Feuer to settle a 2016 lawsuit, Carl Mitchell v. Los Angeles, brought by civil rights lawyers on behalf of homeless people and two skid row anti-poverty groups. Downtown business groups had opposed such a deal, arguing that settling the case would deter redevelopment, and leave skid row and the people who live on its sidewalks mired in squalor.

The city has wrestled with the property rights issue for years, losing or settling a string of civil rights lawsuits related to cleaning up tent encampments downtown

In 2016, L.A. adopted an ordinance limiting homeless people’s belongings to what would fit in a 60-gallon bag, and requiring the city to give 24-hour notice of cleanups and store confiscated items where they can be readily reclaimed.