Advocates For Homeless Residents Respond to City of San Francisco’s Supplemental Notice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 29 August 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Raya Steier firstname.lastname@example.org 530-723-2426
San Francisco, CA- Earlier today the City of San Francisco filed an inappropriate Supplemental Notice and related statement that can only be described as political grandstanding intended to mislead the public. This evening, we filed a response to reaffirm our position and set the record straight.
Individuals who have realistic access to shelter are not “involuntarily homeless.” This definition is consistent with established law as recognized by the Ninth Circuit. In our response to the City’s filing, we reiterate that we were, and will remain willing to submit a straightforward stipulation that reflects our agreement regarding the definition of “involuntarily homeless” that the City claims to have not understood.
In its filing and statement, the City introduced other extrinsic issues that fall outside the scope of the Ninth Circuit’s suggested stipulation that were not previously agreed upon. The issues introduced by the City also misstate the factual record. The City insists that it routinely makes shelter offers to unhoused people, a claim that the District Court has already found to be without merit after reviewing the factual record.
The District Court found that the City enforced its anti-homeless laws even when there was no shelter to offer and before the city knew if any shelter was available. Similarly, the City presented no specific evidence that it offered shelter prior to the 3000 citations and arrests documented by us. Given the District Court’s findings and the acute lack of shelter, the City cannot credibly claim that it routinely makes valid shelter offers. Nothing in the preliminary injunction prevents the City from making real offers of services, routine street cleaning, or enforcing other health and safety laws.
All San Franciscans, both housed or unhoused, deserve to know about the City’s actions. The District Court has expressed real concerns about what unhoused people are being told by the City and the City’s failure to properly train its employees. After we shared accounts of unhoused people being displaced and having their belongings like survival gear, work equipment, IDs, and sentimental items taken by the City, the District Court ordered the City to provide an accounting of the training provided to its employees regarding the preliminary injunction. The City has also agreed to engage with us to determine the instructions that its employees must provide to unhoused residents on the street. We look forward to working with the City on that matter, but the City’s latest filing and statement at the expense of taxpayers does not help that cause.
We were and will remain to be willing to present the Court with a straightforward stipulation reflecting our agreement as to the definition of “involuntarily homeless” as defined in the law.
“The City Attorney’s latest filing is yet another attempt at political theatre. As Plaintiffs made clear at the hearing, there has never been any confusion with the Ninth Circuit’s clear holdings—unhoused individuals who have realistic access to shelter are not involuntarily homeless. Plaintiffs were perfectly willing to stipulate to that effect and remain willing to do so. The City’s misguided filing insists on a charade that the City makes valid shelter “offers” to unhoused individuals when the City itself doesn’t know if any shelter will become available on a given day when it continues to threaten the enforcement of laws enjoined by the district court’s injunction. We should expect better from our political leaders. San Francisco deserves better.” –Zal K. Shroff, Acting Legal Director, Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area