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LA City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto, Justice Partners and City and County Leaders Establish First Community Outreach Court Serving Unhoused Angelenos

Posted on 03/21/2024

SKID ROW, LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced that her office, in partnership with the Office of Mayor Karen Bass, Supervisor Hilda Solis, Presiding Judge Samantha Jessner of the LA Superior Court, the LA County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia, and the LA County Alternate Public Defender, Erika Anzoategui, has established the Community Outreach Court (“COC”) to help unhoused individuals by removing legal roadblocks to social services and housing opportunities.

Since it launched as a pilot project in September 2023, the COC has been offering services, including expungements, ticket relief, warrant recall, social support and housing assistance, and has engaged more than 190 people who are unhoused or at-risk of being unhoused. The COC is the first program of its kind in the City of Los Angeles which aims to address criminal misdemeanor matters affecting unhoused Angelenos in a community setting. 

“By establishing a court that is located in the community, we are helping unhoused Angelenos comply with the law, navigate the legal system, and access much-needed services,” said Hydee Feldstein Soto, Los Angeles City Attorney. “When unhoused individuals are summoned to court, they are often reluctant to appear in court sometimes because they have no place to store their belongings or are afraid of losing them, sometimes because they struggle with mental and/or substance abuse issues and sometimes because of experience and mistrust of officials in government or law enforcement. This is our effort to bring our courts directly into the community to help solve these challenges.”

The COC is held every third Thursday of the month at the Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot, a 24/7 public safe space that is open to all and provides showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, drinking water, links to social services, and pet supplies.

The COC helps people experiencing homelessness and those at-risk of being homeless navigate the criminal court process by offering an array of legal aid services, including:

  • Clearing eligible bench warrants;
  • Expunging eligible convictions;
  • Resolving eligible misdemeanor cases and citations;
  • Resolving outstanding fines and fees and case-related collection issues; and
  • Connecting participants to reentry resources and job opportunities.

The next COC is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2024 at 9:00 a.m. at the Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot located at 544 Towne Ave., between 5th and 6th Street in downtown LA.

For more information about the COC, please email Supervising Attorney