Activists Using California's Environmental Law To Block Homeless Shelters

Sacramento Tent City Fills Up With The Newly Jobless And Homeless

It may have taken sometime, but earlier this spring residents in San Francisco created a GoFundMe looking to raise $100,000.

Uh, why would they need this much money? Turns out these residents were looking to file a lawsuit under one of California's landmark environmental laws.

Okay, did not see this one coming. So what California environmental law was violated? Nope, it's not what you're thinking. This lawsuit isn't trying to stop a toxic waste facility or industrial warehouse. Instead it's focusing on the homeless.

Yes, you read that right. These San Francisco residents are planning to sue to stop a temporary homeless shelter that is proposed to be built on a parking lot in their community.

State and local government has dedicated billions of tax payers dollars in the last few years towards homeless housing and services despite the fact the state's homeless population has increased to nearly 130,000 residents. Of course because it's California, some of the states' effort to build temporary and permanet housing has into opposition.

This isn't just San Francisco, nearly two months earlier the same thing happened in a Los Angeles Venice neighborhood. These Venice residents filed suit under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Opponents of the shelters in San Francisco and Venice say they've been forced to use CEQA to gain the attention of their local politicians. They agree that their politicians are ignoring the growing concerns about crime and drug use.

Opponents of the shelters in both communities say they’ve been forced to use CEQA to gain the attention of politicians, who residents say are ignoring concerns about crime and drug use.

“I think the message (this lawsuit) sends to public officials is: don’t try to put solutions to homelessness in wealthy communities,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents Venice and backs the shelter. “I think that’s a dangerous and troubling message.”

Interesting message. So where are the homeless supposed to go? It seems that's the golden answer California is desperately searching for.

For more information, please read here.

Photo: Getty Images

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