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City of SLO seeks to dismiss lawsuit alleging criminalization of homeless

Posted at 1:45 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 15:27:46-05

The City of San Luis Obispo has filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed in September alleging unconstitutional treatment of the homeless during the pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) on behalf of Hope's Village of SLO and several homeless individuals, claims that the City of San Luis Obispo unlawfully broke up homeless encampments during the pandemic and illegally seized and destroyed homeless people's property, ultimately violating their constitutional rights.

City officials deny the lawsuit's claim that the city's ordinances criminalize homelessness and say the lawsuit aims to prevent the city from enforcing health, safety, and environmental protection ordinances in its public spaces.

"Instead of criminalizing homelessness, our city has spent millions of dollars and untold time and energy on innovative solutions to address the problem within our city limits," City Attorney Christine Dietrick said in a press release on Tuesday. "We will continue to defend our community's right to enforce our own conduct-related laws for the health, safety and welfare of our entire community. While some may disagree with our policy choices, case law supports the legality of the City's ordinances, and the facts reveal that we enforce them with a balance of compassion for people and accountability for harmful conduct."

A hearing on the city's motion is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2022.

KSBY News reached out to CRLA but was told they could not comment at this time.