Los Angeles County Agrees to Comprehensive Reforms to General Relief Program
A coalition of advocates for Los Angeles’s most vulnerable communities announced a settlement agreement with the County of Los Angeles that will lead to major changes to the General Relief program, pending court approval.
On April 8, 2014, Public Counsel, Inner City Law Center, and Gary Blasi, Professor Emeritus at UCLA School of Law, together with pro bono counsel Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP filed the complaint and announced the settlement of the class action lawsuit titled Guillory, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, to resolve claims involving tens of thousands of people who were deprived of General Relief benefits in violation of state law and Constitutional guarantees of due process. The settlement agreement follows 15 months of intensive negotiations with Los Angeles County and has been approved by the Board of Supervisors.
General Relief is a county-administered program mandated by state law. A critical program for people in extreme need, General Relief provides up to $221 a month in cash aid—an amount that has not increased in thirty years—to help individuals secure resources for basic survival. A majority of General Relief recipients are homeless and the aid pays for things they desperately need such as food, medicine or resources for at least a few nights of shelter during the month. Approximately 100,000 people in Los Angeles County participate in the program.
“Without the basic level of security provided by General Relief cash aid, extremely vulnerable Angelenos lose the opportunity to get back on their feet. General Relief recipients deserve a chance to fully participate in a program that promises help towards obtaining employment and self-sufficiency,” said Public Counsel Staff Attorney Erin Darling.