January 17, 2022 #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

Cedars-Sinai Urges Blood Donations

January 11, 2022

January 11, 2022

As 2022 begins, Cedars-Sinai is facing a critical blood shortage and is encouraging prospective donors to give blood as soon...

Interview: Westside Food Bank Adapting to Challenges of the Pandemic

January 4, 2022

January 4, 2022

An interview with Bruce Rankin, Executive Director of The Westside Food Bank By Dolores Quintana We spoke to Bruce Rankin,...

Yo! Venice’s Best Westside Dishes of 2021

December 28, 2021

December 28, 2021

By Sam Catanzaro Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in-between, the Westside has no shortage of world-class food to...

The Best CBD Gift For Every Occasion

November 30, 2021

November 30, 2021

Thanks to the growing popularity of Hemp CBD, there’s a lot of new and unique CBD products that will make...

Venice Family Clinic Completes Merger with South Bay Family Health Care

November 9, 2021

November 9, 2021

Venice Family Clinic and South Bay Family Health Care, which have together provided more than a century of health care...

New French Restaurant Opens by Beach in Playa del Rey

October 20, 2021

October 20, 2021

Westside Dining Scene October 21, 2021 By Dolores Quintana There’s a new French restaurant open in Playa Del Rey according...

Breaking Barriers Through Sport

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

Ex-Navy Rescue swimmer and triathlete, Jordan Hunter is changing the statistics of African Americans not knowing how to swim and...

Community Volunteer Patrol Program Brings Civilians New Insight Into Law Enforcement

October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021

The West LA Police Department has a community patrol program bridging the gap between civilians and law enforcement. Video brought...

Pali High Debuts Fall Musical Avenue Q Live on Stage

October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021

Pali high students bring the musical Avenue Q to the stage for a limited time. Video brought to you by...

UCLA awarded $1 Million Dollars Towards Enabling Safer Bike Commutes

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

The Civic Bicycle Commuting team along with partners is one of six competitors for the Civic Innovation Challenge backed by...

Carmelo Anthony Will Be Crucial The Lakers’ Title Chase, From The Bench

October 8, 2021

October 8, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers remain the second favorites for the NBA championship in 2022 on the back of their slow...

Barn Owl Nesting Box Program Comes to The Westside.

October 5, 2021

October 5, 2021

The barn owl nesting box program from Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife is helping these birds create a network of...

Missing Woman Last Seen in Venice Beach

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Jessie Jean-Baptiste last seen Saturday By Sam Catanzaro Police are seeking a missing 25-year-old woman last seen in Venice Beach...

Canstruction Fights Hunger Through Art

September 27, 2021

September 27, 2021

International hunger relief fundraiser Canstruction makes an appearance at the Westfield Century City mall and we have the highlights. Video...

  • […] 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. […]