Good News from Initial Court Ruling on Homeless Encampments
San Francisco, as part of its efforts to provide shelter to the unhoused, can resume removing illegal encampments that often block sidewalks, streets and other public spaces, under an initial ruling this week by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling clarifies a decision last year by a federal district court judge that the city argued prevented it from removing any encampments, even those inhabited by people who refuse shelter when its available, unless it could provide shelter or housing for all its unhoused residents.
While San Francisco, like many other cities, needs to do much more to increase its supply of shelter, ambiguity around last year’s all-or-nothing ruling has only contributed to the human misery on the city’s streets. And consequently, detracted from the ability of other residents to safely access a wide range of public spaces blocked by encampments. A final ruling on the overall case and other remaining issues isn’t expected for many months. To engage in the Council’s homelessness policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Adrian Covert.