Homeless Court

DESCRIPTION

The Homeless Court (HC) program was created by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office and advocates for the homeless including Public Counsel and the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA).

This program helps impoverished individuals with a history of homelessness to clear tickets and warrants for minor offenses such as traffic tickets, infractions, and various minor misdemeanors including jaywalking, riding the metro without a fare, sleeping in public places, illegal use of shopping carts, possession of an open container of alcohol in public, obstructing traffic on the sidewalk, sleeping on a bus bench, as well as any warrants that arise for failure to resolve these offenses.

KEY POINTS

  • Applicants must have completed a minimum of 90 days of continuous, satisfactory participation in a rehabilitative program. Participation in substance abuse, mental health, employment/training, and other similar programs meets this criteria.
  • Applicants must not have received any new violations within the past six months.
  • The tickets and warrants they want to clear, must have occurred within Los Angeles County.
  • The offense cannot involve a victim, a weapon, or possession or sale of drugs.
  • Qualifying infractions include: traffic tickets, jaywalking, riding the metro without a fare, sleeping in public places, illegal use of shopping carts, possession of an open container of alcohol in public, obstructing traffic on the sidewalk, sleeping on a bus bench, as well as any warrants that arise for failure to resolve these offenses.
  • Individuals must not have any outstanding felony warrants.

CASE MANAGER DUTIES

The Screening Process - Participants who express interest in applying for HC will be screened by the case manager or job developer to determine potential eligibility.

Ineligible Participants - If a determination is made that the participant is ineligible, explain to him/her the reason. If the participant may become eligible in the future, let him/her know the expected date when he/she will meet the criteria and invite him/her to apply at that time.

Potentially Eligible Participants - If the participant appears potentially eligible, proceed with the application process.

The Application Process - Case managers and/or job developers assist interested individuals who qualify for the HC program with the application process as follows:

  • Provide the application and disclaimer forms to the participant.
  • If the participant is unable to complete the form, case manager and/or job developer may complete the form on his/her behalf. However, the participant must sign the application.
Note: The disclaimer form advises the participant of DPSS's responsibility to report any information discovered during the application processing, which might affect eligibility to benefits.

Letter of Support - The letter of support is used to verify that the HC applicant meets the 90-day GROW participation requirement. It is completed by the assigned case manager or job developer. It must include the following information:
  1. The date the applicant entered the GROW program.
  2. A brief explanation of the participant’s progress in the program, i.e., "Participant has successfully completed three weeks of Job Skills Preparation Class; forklift training; he is currently assigned to Intensive Case Management..."
  3. Case manager identifying information (name, address, telephone and fax numbers) and signature.
  4. Participant's signature authorizing release of information.

Submitting the Application - The HC Liaison receives the completed application, disclaimer and letter of support from the case manager or job developer and reviews these forms to ensure they are accurate and properly completed and signed.

These documents are submitted to the Homeless Court via fax to the number listed below. The forms can be mailed only if the HC Liaison is unable to fax them.

Fax:
(213) 485-8263
Mail:
The Homeless Court
Office of the City Attorney
312 South Hill Street, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013

RESULTS

Follow Up - Approximately three weeks after the application and letter of support are submitted, the liaison will be informed if the applicant is eligible for HC and of the place, date, and time the applicant needs to appear before the judge.

The HC Liaison must contact the participant immediately to notify him/her of the above information, emphasizing the importance of keeping this appointment. Additionally, the HC Liaison will give the participant an appointment to return to the GROW site within 10 days from the date of the court appearance to provide information on the results of his/her application to the HC.

Cases outside the City of Los Angeles will be handled by the Public Defender’s Office. No personal appearance is required. This office will notify the applicant whether additional information is needed to process the application, and/or when the offenses are dismissed. The HC Liaison must schedule an appointment within four to six weeks from the date the application was submitted to find out the results.

The HC Liaison records the follow-up information and results on the lower part of the Screening/Follow-Up worksheet.

Reports - Tracking of HC referrals is recorded on two forms:

1. The Homeless Court Control Log is used by the HC Liaison to keep track of participants referred to HC. It records the following information:

Name, case number
OAP date, 90-day from OAP
Date of application
Date appearance notice received
Whether within Los Angeles City or not
Court Date
Results (cleared or not)
GSW file number

2. The Homeless Court Monthly Report compiles statistical information regarding the number of:

Referrals
Eligibles and future eligibles
Applications submitted
Pending applications
Notices received
Records cleared

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