By JOSH FRIEDMAN
A federal judge this week rejected a motion filed by the city of San Luis Obispo seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over homeless individuals being allowed to sleep in tents and vehicles. [KSBY]
Last September, a group of homeless individuals, along with the nonprofit Hope’s Village of SLO, sued the city in federal court, asking that San Luis Obispo’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 San Luis Obispo City Council has passed multiple ordinances barring overnight access to parks and public spaces.
Even though San Luis Obispo 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 alleges. The suit accuses 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.
On Dec. 8, the city filed a motion to dismiss the case. The city denied it criminalizes homelessness and alleged the lawsuit aims to prevent officials from enforcing SLO’s health, safety and environmental protection ordinances for public spaces.
In the aftermath of a judge ruling against the motion to dismiss, the city has until Feb. 22 to file a response to the lawsuit.