Supreme Court lets stand a lower court’s ruling: Homeless people have a right to sleep outside

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A homeless man sleeping on the lawn outside LA City Hall. Photo by Amy Ta.

This morning the Supreme Court let stand (without comment) a lower court ruling that protects the right of homeless people to sleep on sidewalks or in parks. Homeless advocates argue that it’s cruel to punish people who have nowhere else to sleep at night, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. But many city officials in California say the ruling hinders their ability to regulate homeless encampments on city streets.

LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin says, "It's really important today for no one to treat the Supreme Court's non-decision as an endorsement or an acceptance in any way of sidewalk encampments. Sidewalk encampments are unacceptable. But what we need to do is treat this thing as a firm and indisputable mandate for more housing, more shelter, and more and better services."

LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield says, "Without having the Supreme Court come in, it leaves us open to continued lawsuits, and it leaves us in a very vulnerable position where we don't have the ability that we need to balance the legitimate rights of the homeless population with the legitimate rights of our local residents and businesses.” 

Credits

Guests:
Mike Bonin - Los Angeles City Council, 11th district - @mikebonin, Bob Blumenfield - Los Angeles City Council - @BobBlumenfield

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Alexandra Sif Tryggvadottir, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Danielle Chiriguayo