A new lawsuit aims to put a stop to the city’s increasingly common practice of using a code meant to clear trash off sidewalks to force homeless people to move along.
In a new story, I shed light on plaintiffs’ contentions that encroachment citations are complicating their lives rather than helping them get off the street as well as the changes that have followed past homeless class action suits.
And as in the past, attorneys are hoping the federal class action filed on behalf of affected homeless people forces citywide policy changes.
Ten homeless plaintiffs represented by attorneys Kath Rogers and Scott Dreher, a veteran of homeless advocacy suits, are demanding the city stop applying its encroachment code — which was intended to address trash dumpsters blocking sidewalks — to homeless people and their belongings. They argue the city code is vague and results in citations, arrests and orders that they stay away from the very location where services to help them are clustered.
Police have defended their use of the code, saying the citations and arrests follow repeated warnings and offers of services and other help.
• The City Council voted 8-1 on Monday to buy a rundown South Bay hotel in hopes it can serve as transitional housing for repeat misdemeanor offenders enrolled in the city’s new SMART program. City Councilman David Alvarez, who tried to postpone the Monday vote, cast the sole vote against buying the property. He previously questioned whether the city’s plans for the motel would pass muster with the state Coastal Commission and on Monday said he believed lawsuits could kill the project.