San Francisco (File)

Appeals Court In California Gives Greenlight For San Francisco To Clear Out Homeless Camps

San Francisco (File)
San Francisco (File)

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that San Francisco can clear out homeless camps in light of a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction issued in December 2022 requiring the city to offer immediate shelter before removing encampments, stating that it violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

The Supreme Court ruled in the City of Grants Pass v. Johnson that localities can ban homeless encampments on public property.

The ruling states that the city must collect any personal property and allow individuals to retrieve it for up to 90 days. Officers must also leave a note at the cleared site identifying where the property can be found.

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According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the court also upheld that the city had the right to enforce its policy, shrugging off pleas from city officials asking that they not be forced to follow the new guidelines.

“This decision by the Supreme Court will help cities like San Francisco manage our public spaces more effectively and efficiently,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement following the Supreme Court decision, adding that she hopes the city will remove all tent camps from its streets. “We will continue to offer shelter, but we will not allow those who reject offers of help to remain where they are.”

Homelessness in San Francisco rose 7% from 2022 to 2024 despite the city spending $676 million on the issue in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The city is working to increase housing to combat the rising homeless population but is observably falling short of its plan to build 82,000 new housing units by 2031, having reportedly issued only 7 new housing permits in the first two months of 2024.

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The rise in homelessness has led to surging crime in the city and over 32,000 complaints of human feces on the streets in 2023 alone, prompting action to remove the camps. Poor conditions led residents in one of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods to file a lawsuit against the city for its failure to tackle crime and blaming the city for allowing an open-air drug market to fester.

Breed’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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First published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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