January 23, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Supreme Court Ruling Protects Right of Homeless to Sleep in Public

Ruling ties hands for lawmakers grappling with encampments, celebrated by homeless advocates

By Sam Catanzaro

The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal in a case surrounding a Boise, Idaho law that would have made it illegal to sleep in public places, a setback for many West Coast cities grappling with a growing homelessness crisis.

The decision, issued by the court without comment Monday, leaves in place earlier rulings by the 9th Circuit appeals court, in the case Martin v. Boise, that homeless persons cannot be punished for sleeping outside on public property in the absence of adequate alternatives. The ruling is binding in the 9th Circuit, covering nine states including California, a state home to 1/4 of the nation’s homeless population.

“No one should treat this as an endorsement or acceptance of sidewalk encampments. Everyone should treat this as a firm and indisputable mandate for more housing, more shelter, and more services,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin following the decision.

Lawyers representing Boise argued that the decision ultimately hurts the individuals the law claims to protect by hindering lawmakers within the 9th Circuit from managing homeless encampments that pose a public safety risk.

“Public encampments, now protected by the Constitution under the Ninth Circuit’s decision, have spawned crime and violence, incubated disease, and created environmental hazards that threaten the lives and well-being both of those living on the streets and the public at large,” said lawyers for Boise in court documents.

Los Angeles County, where homelessness increased 16 percent the past year, and many other governing bodies backed Boise in its petition to the Supreme Court.

“The Martin decision forbids municipalities from enforcing common sense ordinances that prohibit public camping unless those local governments can offer acceptable shelter to every unhoused person in the jurisdiction. In other words, the County could be powerless to address camping in public places by anyone until it provides shelter for everyone,” the County wrote in September.

LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl who represents Venice and is a Westside resident, however, voted against backing Boise’s petition in September.

“We need to continue to provide more and more housing and shelter and services, not simply ticket and arrest,” Kuehl said.

This was a view shared by lawyers representing homeless individuals and their advocates following the Supreme Court’s decision Monday.

“We’re thrilled that the Court has let the 9th Circuit decision stand so that homeless people are not punished for sleeping on the streets when they have no other option,” said Maria Foscarinis, Executive Director at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “But ultimately, our goal is to end homelessness through housing—which is effective and saves taxpayer dollars—so that no one has to sleep on the streets in the first place. We hope that the 9th Circuit decision will help communities find the political will to put that housing in place. Housing, not handcuffs, is what ends homelessness.”

The case now returns to the 9th Circuit. The City of Boise says it is evaluating options for its next actions.

Related Posts

Venice Student Receives Education Award from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Seven area students were presented Education Awards by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition at the first-ever...

Venice-Area DUI Checkpoint This Weekend

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

DUI and license checkpoint Friday night at Venice-area intersection By Chad Winthrop A Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint is...

Edify TV: Westside Hot Chocolate Standouts

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

With both rain and National Hot Chocolate Day on the horizon, get cozy with these standout hot chocolates on the...

Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers: YO! Venice Show – January, 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers * Los...

Popular San Francisco Sandwich Shop Opening in Westside

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 21, 2021 By Kerry Slater Santa Monica Pastry Shop Closes  A beloved Santa Monica pastry shop...

Food Review: A Darn Good but Pricey Burger

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Smash burgers done right at Tripp Burgers By Kerry Slater Surrounded by a collection of strip malls, a Westside pop-up...

FDA-Authorized Coronavirus Testing at Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Drive-thru and walk-up testing seven-days a week   The award-winning Shore Hotel, located steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier,...

‘Doctor’s Office on Wheels’ Homeless and Those at Risk of Losing Homes

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Venice Family Clinic launches mobile clinic van aimed at preventing homelessness By Chad Winthrop A Venice non-profit has launched a...

Edify TV: Ticketing Maskless Angelenos?

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Los Angeles lawmakers want to fine people for not wearing masks. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Missing Man Last Seen in Palms Area

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Chance Olsewski last seen in on the Westside on Friday A missing 20-year-old man was last seen in the Palms...

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Illegal Marina del Rey Boat Charters

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The issue of illegal charters brought up at recent County meeting By Toi Creel Officials recently discussed the issue of...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In Oakwood Park: YO! Venice Show – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In...

Popular Coffee Shop Adding New Westside Storefront

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...

  • […] The decision, issued by the court without comment Monday, leaves in place earlier rulings by the 9th Circuit appeals court, in the case Martin v. Boise, that homeless persons cannot be punished for sleeping outside on public property in the absence of adequate alternatives. The ruling is binding in the 9th Circuit, covering nine states including California, a state home to 1/4 of the nation’s homeless population. Full article here. […]