LA loses appeal on removing homeless’ belongings

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to reverse lower court rulings that prevent Los Angeles city workers from summarily removing and destroying homeless people’s property left on Skid Row sidewalks.

The high court’s ruling, which came without comment on Monday, left standing an order that prevents city workers and police from disposing of belongings that homeless people leave temporarily unattended, the Los Angeles Times reported (

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich had argued that allowing homeless people to leave belongings on sidewalks creates a health hazard and violates municipal ordinances.

The suit was brought by eight homeless people who said they lost important personal documents, medications, family photos, clothing and electronics when they temporarily left their bundles unattended while they went to shower or eat in nearby shelters or attend court hearings.

Carol Sobel, attorney for the homeless plaintiffs, said the city could find no evidence of a public health crisis.

Sobel noted that the city can still clear abandoned property, or remove possessions that pose an imminent threat to public health or safety. The Central City East Assn., a nonprofit business group, since 2002 has run a storage center on skid row for homeless people to store their belongings. The city last year added 500 plastic trash bins to the center’s existing 600 containers, according to the Times.

The city has lost five lawsuits over homeless property seizures since 1987.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

blog comments powered by Disqus