Coalition on Homelessness v. City of San Francisco (Towing)
On June 9, 2021, the Coalition on Homelessness filed a Motion for Writ of Mandate in its lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco, the SFMTA, and the SFPD. Through this action, the Coalition on Homelessness hopes to finally end the City’s unconstitutional policy and practice of towing safely parked vehicles solely because their owners have accrued five or more unpaid parking tickets. This towing practice violates the Fourth Amendment by unlawfully seizing vehicles without a warrant and violates due process by failing to provide adequate notice and opportunity to be heard.
These tows are used as the City’s form of debt-collection for unpaid tickets, disproportionately impact the City’s low-income and homeless population, and are deeply harmful — with the average cost to retrieve a vehicle towed for debt collection purposes at nearly $1,500, far more than most low-income and unhoused San Franciscans can pay.
The Coalition on Homelessness is represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), Bay Area Legal Aid, and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.