Appeals court upholds ban on homeless encampment sweeps

January 12, 2024

Homeless encampment on Madonna Road, photo by Josh Friedman


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a ban on homeless encampment sweeps. An injunction prohibiting San Francisco from clearing encampments without first offering the residents shelter will remain in place.

In the fall of 2022, the Coalition on Homelessness sued the City and County of San Francisco over their treatment of homeless individuals. U.S. District Court Judge Donna Ryu filed an injunction in Dec. 2022 barring the city from removing homeless people from the street who do not have access to alternative shelter.

The Ninth Circuit found that San Francisco was criminalizing homelessness, in violation of their constitutional rights. The court also reaffirmed that in instances were government legally removes homeless from the streets, their belongings must be properly identified and stored.

In Sept. 2022, a group of homeless individuals sued San Luis Obispo in federal court, asking that the city’s homeless population be granted the right to sleep in tents and vehicles in public places without facing destruction of their property, harassment, fines and criminal charges. The SLO City Council had passed multiple ordinances barring overnight access to parks and public spaces.

Even though SLO has a policy of not destroying personal property seized during raids of homeless encampments for at least 60 days, the city has repeatedly discarded items such as tents, cooking utensils and sleeping bags, the lawsuit alleged. The suit accused the city of violating the Eighth Amendment by punishing people for being homeless and the Fourth Amendment for seizing and destroying personal property, as well as the California Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

After losing a motion to dismiss the case, SLO settled with the homeless litigants, according to California Rural Legal Assistance.

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How ironic, but immensely stupid and sad, that Federal judges are enabling criminality and thwarting decades of smart public policy & laws regarding public health, public safety and environmental protection.

Does anyone know who funds the Coalition Of Homelessness? And why would a San Francisco based company come to SLO? Who pays the 14 people associated with this coalition?

I’m okay with offering homeless persons their 9th circuit court shelter but it would be self contained tent cities located in the central valley or the desert where land is available and affordable. Along with food and shelter, these cities would incorporate mental health and drug rehabilitation services. In this way, these individuals could be removed from our downtown sidewalks, parks, river beds, and forests. We having been pouring money into 800K apartments and hotel rooms for the homeless population. These semi-permanent housing solutions have few or no conditions for getting well. The human waste and garbage homeless encampments generate is disgusting, which flows into the ocean and lakes we swim in. Our city, county and state governments are spending an obscene amount of our money on this problem, but the primary benefactors are hotels, developers and homeless advocate employees that make six figure salaries. Re-direct this money to create homeless tent cities where few if any residents would be affected.

So how much did this settlement cost San Luis Obispo? $100,000? $1 million?

thank you Foxtrot. and pilot programs all over show if you House people, they within one year, obtain work, dignity and provide back. It is easy to fall through the cracks. No one wants to be homeless. Slo also has no institutions for the mentally Ill. which are needed.

An injunction prohibiting San Francisco from clearing encampments without first offering the residents shelter will remain in place.

Good news in the SF case is there’s an incredibly easy workaround and it’s already being leveraged. Simply offer shelter first (which is widely available) and if it is refused, then the encampment is cleared.

Here in our neck of the woods, it’s a bit trickier as we don’t have shelters in every town.

The 9th circuit is the most overturned court in the nation… someone is going to have to have the guts to challenge this all the way to the supreme court… the 9th circuit is hurting people and destroying California with this ruling…