By FRED SHUSTER, City News ServiceQuoting a homeless Air Force veteran who said he found a 19-year-old blind girl walking the streets of Skid Row, the federal judge overseeing a lawsuit seeking to end the downtown Los Angeles homelessness crisis has rejected a bid by the city and county to hit pause on his decree that all indigent persons in the area must be offered shelter within six months. In an order filed late Sunday, April 25, in Los Angeles federal court, U. S. District Judge David O. Carter hit back at the city/county’s claim that his housing order lacked standing because the plaintiffs — the L. A. Alliance for Human Rights — cannot allege injuries to third parties — homeless persons on Skid Row. In response, the judge quoted from declarations from L. Alliance members that he said illustrate that a “plethora” of homeless persons are among plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Wenzial Jarrell, a homeless veteran who served for years in the Air Force before being injured in combat, says in one such declaration that “service providers offer little to no substantive support for the people living in Skid Row. ”Jarrell, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from years of serving in war, which has made it difficult for him to survive on the streets, said that he found a 19-year-old blind girl walking the streets of Skid Row. It was clear that she would be unable to survive there by herself and Jarrell brought her to a county services worker “who told him that there was nothing they could do for the girl, ” Carter wrote. Jarrell, who prides himself on helping countless others to “get out of the black hole that is Skid Row, ” said that there is nothing worse than “getting stuck in the system of Skid Row and finding you cannot escape, ” Carter wrote, quoting from the man’s declaration. Unfortunately, the judge added, Jarrell himself has not been able to escape the system. Concluding his declaration, Jarrell states that he would jump at a chance for stable housing. “The world doesn’t know how bad it really is to live on Skid Row. I know I am more likely to die because I live on Skid Row. It is a desperate situation, ” he said in the declaration. The judge also quotes Maria Diaz, a homeless woman and a plaintiff to the suit, who said she has lived on Skid Row for five years and has seen “young women harassed, attacked, raped, and ultimately succumb to drug addiction due to the conditions of Skid Row. ”Diaz states that it is women like herself who suffer the most on Skid Row. “Harassment of women in Skid Row is a certainty, and they need to learn fast how to deal with the constant onslaught of issues they will face, ” she said in a quote contained in the judge’s order. The woman said that her fellow residents of the row “are always trying to sell drugs, steal belongings, or just hassle those trying to make it through this troubling time.
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Article Link: https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/26/judge-carter-rejects-la-city-county-attempt-to-pause-skid-row-homeless-housing-deadline/
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