A class action filed this weekend urges the city to stop issuing violations against homeless residents using a city code intended to target trash dumpsters. It represents the latest legal move to force the city to overhaul its dealings with its homeless population.
Attorneys Kath Rogers and Scott Dreher filed suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of homeless San Diegans who’ve been affected by the policy arguing the city should stop using its encroachment code to police homeless people. They allege the city’s current tack violates homeless San Diegans’ civil and constitutional rights.
Dreher, who’s previously negotiated legal settlements that reshaped city homelessness policies, is hoping the lawsuit forces a new round of negotiations rather than a court battle.
“We would love to work on something that’s a win-win,” Dreher said.
A spokesman for the city attorney’s office said Monday that city lawyers will review the case and consult with city officials. He said the city is open to discussions with the attorneys.
Dreher and Rogers’ lawsuit argues the city’s use of its encroachment code, which was meant to force the removal of waste or trash bins from sidewalks, to force homeless folks to move elsewhere amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and violates due process and equal protection rights, among other violations.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I am a candidate for SD CC D2. I have made SD my home for 50 years all in D2. My view is that it is time for some tough love. Enough is enough, already! I agree with the comment by Al Allen. It's just common sense! We must begin to enforce our laws with a kindness of heart in getting these folks off of our streets. I will work to that end! Please support my campaign! Danny D2 858 220 4613 cell
INMO the city should survey the homeless. Those with a verified history connecting them to San Diego, living, working, grew up here go to the front of the line, get all the services available.
Those with no connection to San Diego, just arrived from another city to take advantage of our benefits and climate are told they will be at the back of the line. Will not receive any assistance until all San Diegans taken care of first. Meaning the wait could be years. Instead of waiting, non city residents can ask for and receive a free bus ticket back home.
There is only so much money available, can't keep adding to the problem with new homeless constantly coming in.
Sorry for the hard line but as I've said, there is only so much money, so many homes for homeless to live in. City residents must come first.
Thanks for keeping up the coverage Lisa. I take issue with one persistent inference;
That beds and programs are unavailable.
The problem seems to be that many of the urban campers do not want or need a “bed”, nor will they be able to take advantage of the available housing options, because they cannot, or will not comply with the rules regarding both of these options.
What our urban camper advocates seem to want is a place, for those currently camping on sidewalks, to gather, is not governed by the rule of law, and has no requirements that they must abide. Sort of a lawless wild wild west, lord of the flies, type community.
It is really time to de-bunk the concept that our urban campers have not been offered help. They have been, and they continue to be offered help, and they refuse. Drugs, drinking, the desire to keep their “stuff” with them, all are impediments to getting help. Until we focus on that reality we will not get to the root of the problem and our health crisis will continue.
This is a very nice piece Lisa. Listen I spoke personally with Sherri Lightner then Council President on this very matter at the Woman and Girls of CA meeting. She was very interested- there seems to be some "block" politically for the council yo get some good ideas and pass measures. Are we waiting for Mayor Falconer? I really don't know. But the criminalization of homelessness was presented to Ms Lightner way back. The problem is dramatically larger but exactly the same as in 2013.
I'd like to understand who the players are. Why do we come to a halt at every attempt to intercede- money? Or providers. who are not ready to change their infrastructure? Or both?
We may consider that all free meals and services are downtown and may need to be moved closer to the tent city location. Or somehow develop services to the area. The libraries include a/c and computers- not that this is a necessity but this is available on foot downtown, Father Joes and Salvation Army provide services and food with God. (and 12 step programs)
Not that any of these conveniences are rights but it will drastically change the dynamic of services and service providers. These operations are big money. I'm sure police will enjoy having "homelessness herding" removed from their job. The firemen and metro ambulances will lose a big percentage of their budget.
If the average San Diegan knew how much of the city budget goes towards marshalling the homeless they'd develop compassion fatigue on the spot. All things that have been presented to Ms Lightner who conceivably had more pressing matters and considerably less homeless on the streets. Really homeless is big business to service providers.
When was it exactly that we replaced the term "junkie" with "homeless"?
Seriously, these people are mostly on drugs. I have compassion for mental illness, but a junkie does not deserve to camp on our sidewalks in a tent to shoot heroin and smoke meth. Stop kidding yourself if you think these people are down on their luck. It's a drug problem mostly.
When I was a kid, I was deathly afraid of getting a public intoxication ticket because it was $200 that I wanted to spend elsewhere. Seems like those tickets don't exist anymore unless you have money to burn in PB. If your homeless on the west side of Balboa Park, just shoot up and join the nightly zombie march without being hassled.
I just listened to Rogers on KPBS. Seriously lady, You make it sound as if these people are getting hassled over a toothbrush and a comb. This situation is out of control, myself and my neighbors are infuriated with the amount of rubbish, defecation in our yards, the theft, general unsightliness that this population has brought to our city. These people need to be moved into camps where there is water, showers, security and services for the few that would actually use them. Where are the rights of the people who work, pay taxes and own homes? The only way to rid our city of this plague is to enforce the laws fully and quickly. Creating homeless camps outside of our city and its neighborhoods would greatly increase the quality of life to our citizens. If the street folks don't like it I suggest they try somewhere else.
Since when has blocking a sidewalk been a right? Interfering with a public right-of-way? It's one thing when folks are camped out for a new tech product or a new movie, but day-in/day-out camping in a right of way? Nope.
Attorneys looking at a deep-pocket (city) lawsuit.
Can you say "Special Interests"? Can you say "Corruption" in existing programs? Ok then you got the problem..Now fix the fixers!
@Joan Lockwood First we must fully fund the lawyers!
My wife and I walked from Seaport Village to Santa Fe Station on Saturday evening. Surprised that we had to walk through blocks-long rows or these urban campers.
The January census of homelessness counted fewer than 10,000 people. The mayor has committed to throw another $40million at the problem. Add this to the existing governmental and charitable programs ... tens of thousands of dollars per year per homeless person. Obviously money is not the issue.
@George in BayHo The issue is "political will". San Diego doesn't have the political will to end homelessness...What nonsense!
They should be given a hot cup of coffee and a free ride to camp in front of the homes of the greedy lawyers Dreher & Rogers. I don't see them offering up their lavish conference room as a soup kitchen.