LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – The Supreme Court will not review an appellate decision that makes it harder for cities to keep homeless people from sleeping on the streets, rebuffing requests from Los Angeles and other cities to clarify the law.
The justices on Monday did not comment as they left in place a ruling that struck down a Boise, Idaho, ordinance.READ MORE: Man Shot While Walking Dogs In Hollywood, 2 French Bulldogs Stolen
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals applies across several Western states where cities are struggling with homelessness brought on by rising housing costs and income inequality.
The appeals court held that Boise could not make it a crime for homeless people to sleep on the streets when no alternative shelter is available.
But by declining to take up the case, the Supreme Court leaves the 9th Circuit decision in place, which L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer called “internally inconsistent and unclear” in a amicus brief filing with the nation’s highest court back in September.
“Homelessness is a public health and safety emergency which requires a careful balance on our streets,” said Feuer. “Boise’s lack of clarity could place the City at risk of litigation as leaders strive to fashion the humane, practical solutions this crisis urgently demands. We hope the Supreme Court will take the case and provide needed guidance.”READ MORE: 2 People Killed, 3 Critically Hurt In Violent South LA Collision
L.A. has had a law regulating sleeping on streets and sidewalks since 1968, but much of it was invalidated by the Martin v. Boise case.
In response to the ruling, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said failing to hear the case will continue to create unsafe and unhealthy conditions and hamper the county’s ability to help people living on the streets.
“With unprecedented numbers of people falling into homelessness nationwide, we are experiencing an urgent humanitarian crisis,” Ridley-Thomas said. “More than 1,000 individuals will die on Los Angeles County streets this year. Supporting the city of Boise’s position to appeal to the Supreme Court was never an attempt to criminalize the homeless. Rather, it was a pursuit of a legal framework that is clear, in comparison to a status quo that is ambiguous and confusing.”
But homeless advocacy groups such as Los Angeles-based KTown For All hailed the decision not to hear the case.
“We’re glad that the fate of our neighbors doesn’t rest with a very conservative Supreme Court,” the Los Angeles-based homeless advocacy organization KTown for All stated on Twitter. “This news is a serious relief to a number of homeless residents, service providers and advocates.”MORE NEWS: At Least 2 Homes Destroyed When Wind-Whipped Fire Rips Through Bloomington Neighborhood
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