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Federal Judge Frustrated Over Lack of Transparency from LA County

By Maggie LaBarge 

LOS ANGELES, CA – On Thursday, April 4th, Federal Judge David O. Carter expressed frustration over L.A. County’s lack of transparency regarding homeless assistance efforts in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. 

Judge Carter then ordered the daily city and county officials to meet until they had reached an agreement that] would bring accountability to funds spent to address the unhoused population. 

The City of Los Angeles provides beds while the L.A. County provides services like mental health and substance abuse treatment; this is why the two need to find a way to work around this. 

“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 L.A. Alliance for Human Rights attorney. 

The nonprofit, along with a group of business owners, residents, and members of the unhoused population, filed a lawsuit in 2020 because of annoyance over how taxpayer dollars get spent on homelessness. 

In March, Judge Carter ordered an audit of all unhoused assistance programs funded or conducted by the City of Los Angeles, including the previously mentioned Inside Safe program run by Mayor Karen Bass. 

On Tuesday, April 5th, the City of Los Angeles posted invoices corresponding to efforts against homelessness on a public website. 

“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.” 

Judge Carter said L.A. County is not tracking the money to assist the unhoused population. He recommended they follow Mayor Bass’s lead and suggested that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors chair, Lindsey Horvath, should come to court herself. 

Carter is now deciding who will audit the City of Los Angeles’ homeless efforts. Kenneth Mejia, the City Controller, is also auditing Mayor Bass’ Inside Safe program.

Resources: 

https://abc7.com/judge-expresses-frustration-over-lack-of-transparency-from-la-county-on-home less-efforts/14618156/

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