by Trevor Schakohl
Multiple homeless individuals and the Coalition on Homelessness sued the city of San Francisco, California, Tuesday for allegedly arresting people lacking available shelter and destroying belongings, without providing affordable housing options.
The city has subjected homeless people to “ongoing criminalization and property destruction practices,” according to the lawsuit. It contends San Francisco has violated Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment protections by threatening, citing, arresting and removing homeless individuals from public spaces and infringed on Fourth Amendment rights by illegally confiscating and destroying possessions.
BREAKING NEWS: We're suing @LondonBreed, @SFPD & the City of SF for their efforts to criminalize homelessness through an array of brutal policing practices that violate the constitutional rights of unhoused San Franciscans.
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— Coalition on Homelessness (@TheCoalitionSF) September 28, 2022
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruled in 2018 that municipalities could not criminalize homeless people sleeping outside on public property without shelter being practically available. The decision is constitutionally binding in states the circuit court covers, as the Supreme Court passed on reviewing it in summer of 2022, according to OregonLive.
“San Francisco presents the image of a caring municipality with a concrete plan to address the root causes of homelessness,” the lawsuit argues. “But in reality, the City’s decades-long failure to adequately invest in affordable housing and shelter has left many thousands of its residents unhoused, forcing them to use tents and vehicles as shelter. In the face of this mounting crisis, the City has marshalled significant resources toward unlawful and ineffective punishment rather than affordable housing and shelter.”
The Lawyer’s Committee For Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area stepped in to help represent the lawsuit’s plaintiffs.
“San Franciscans deserve real solutions to homelessness. That starts and ends with the City actually investing in affordable housing,” a press release from the committee said. “The City cannot punish unhoused people for a housing crisis it created.”
The San Francisco mayor’s communications office and the Coalition on Homelessness did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Trevor Schakohl is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “San Francisco Homeless” by Shannon Badiee. CC BY-SA 2.0.