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LA Officials Finalize Deal To House Thousands Of Homeless People Living Near Freeways

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Following seven months of deliberation, Los Angeles city and county officials Tuesday finalized a $300 million deal to provide housing for thousands of homeless people who live in and around the region's freeways.

The deal calls for the city to provide 6,700 new beds in exchange for $300 million in funding over five years from the county.

homeless los angeles
Nicole (last name not given) 40 years-old, fixes her tent over the bridge of the 110 Freeway, during the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic in Los Angeles California on May 25, 2020. - On May 22, 2020 a federal judge issued a preliminary order requiring that homeless people living under Los Angeles freeway overpasses and underpasses, be relocated for health and safety reasons. (Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

An emergency meeting took place last week to attempt to unravel snarls that threatened a funding agreement that had been stymied for four months by what a federal judge called in-fighting and time-wasting.

According to a binding term sheet released as part of a federal court filing Tuesday, the city is responsible for creating 5,300 new beds by April 2021 and 700 additional new beds by December 2021 for a total of 6,000 new beds. The city also must provide an additional 700 beds by April that "may be beds previously captured in an agreement or plan between the city and county," according to the county's notice.

To assist in funding, the county will pay the city up to $60 million per year for five years. The county will pay to the city a one-time bonus of $8 million if the 5,300 new bed target is reached within 10 months.

The deal is in response to a lawsuit filed back in March which alleged that authorities were not doing enough to protect the homeless from the coronavirus.

The lawsuit was filed by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of Skid Row-area business owners, formerly homeless people and disabled city dwellers who contended the apparent lack of services and alleged negligence on the part of city and county officials has resulted in a multitude of dangers in the area.

The homeless crisis in L.A. has continued to worsen over the past several years. The 2020 Greater L.A. Homeless Count -- which was conducted in January, prior to the pandemic -- recorded 66,433 people living on the streets of L.A. County, a staggering 12.7% increase from the year before.

In 2018, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced the "A Bridge Home" program, which involves putting up about two dozen temporary homeless shelters. The Bridge Home program housed 12,438 people in 2019, LAHSA reports.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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