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Homelessness

Whether you live under a bridge or in a mansion makes no difference. In America, the Constitution applies to everybody. Unfortunately, cities and counties continue to pass laws that undermine basic human rights for people who are unhoused. Laws against encampments, trespassing and panhandling cause homeless people to be evicted from their dwellings, result in the destruction of their belongings, and restrict their free speech right to ask for help. When government restricts these essential, life-sustaining activities, it wrongly makes it a crime for homeless people to attempt to survive.

Resources

Published: 
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
An ordinance crafted by the ACLU, Columbia Legal Services, and other allies provides a fair, balanced, and compassionate response to people living without shelter in Seattle.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
The ACLU-WA and allies are pointing local officials statewide to an important Dept. of Justice brief. It explains that when there is insufficient shelter space, cities that prosecute homeless people for sleeping or camping in public places violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
News Release, Published: 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The ACLU of Washington today released a letter sent to Burien officials urging the repeal of a recently adopted law targeting the homeless. In the attached letter, the ACLU explains the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and overly broad, and invites arbitrary enforcement.
News Release, Published: 
Friday, November 20, 2009
U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour has issued a permanent injunction barring enforcement of a City of Medina law which required people to apply for a license from town officials and submit to a police background check in order to exercise their free speech rights.

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