LOS ANGELES - This would have been a billion-dollar effort to put people on the streets and in tents into shelters and housing along Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
That, in response, to a lawsuit filed by the LA Alliance for Human Rights. But, now all of that has changed. That housing was a dream of single mom Ashley. She asked we not give her last name.
During our interview she became emotional.
In tears, she said, "I’m mad at myself for allowing us to even get into this situation."
Ashley is 29, came here from Texas, lives at Union Rescue Mission and is newly homeless. She was looking forward to that sweeping order that would have forced the city and county to offer shelter to every person on LA’s Ski Row, but in a resounding decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals it was that whole idea was rejected.
"I’m mad at the judge for overthrowing this," Ashley said.
It was U.S. District Judge David Carter, who went to Skid Row to see for himself and upon realizing there was structural racism, he issued a mandatory injunction. He felt he had to act to deal with what he called a public health issue.
He wanted shelter and housing for the estimated 5,000 people who walk and live on these streets. City Attorney Mike Feuer says Carter wanted to use tax dollars and – along with county lawyers – they all thought Carter overstepped his bounds. They appealed Carter’s action.
And, the appeals court agreed Judge Carter overstepped his bounds and threw out his injunction.
Says Feuer, "It was a very important victory today, but the fact is we are still in the midst of a homelessness crisis."
He says he deeply admires the intensity that Judge Carter has brought to the issue, but he says spending public money needs to be done by elected public officials and not judges.
Feuer continues, "The homelessness crisis we confront is going to stay with us until we take concrete action to grapple with every facet of the problem as the emergency that it is."
Rev. Andy Bales heads up the Union Rescue Mission. To him, it definitely is a crisis.
Says Bales, "I am heartbroken, prayed for years for something like this to happen; judge shows up…orders everybody immediately off the streets and you can imagine the rejoicing."
But, there’s no rejoicing now. Ask Ashley - the single homeless mom we met who has an 8-year-old daughter.
She told us, "I don’t want this life for me or for her. And, again, I’m not asking anyone to put me in a place and not pay rent. Just help me get into that place and I’ll do what I need to do to keep it."