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Advocates Announce Civil Rights Lawsuit Protecting Homeless People’s Property; Condemn Longstanding Practice of Property Seizure and Destruction

What: Press conference announcing a lawsuit seeking to stop the Los Angeles Police Department and City of Los Angeles from seizing and destroying homeless individuals’ property in violation of their well-established constitutional rights.

When: TOMORROW, Tuesday – March 15, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

Where: South Steps of Los Angeles City Hall (1st St. between Spring St. and Main St.)

Who: The Law Office of Carol A. Sobel, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP, The Los Angeles Community Action Network, The Los Angeles Catholic Worker/Hippie Kitchen

The Law Office of Carol A. Sobel, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman will announce the filing of a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the City of Los Angeles seeking to stop the practice of the illegal seizure and destruction of homeless individuals’ property in violation of their rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs include residents who while trying to emerge out of homelessness have experienced this practice firsthand and have had their personal property — such as tents, tarps, blankets, medication, and documents —illegally taken from them by LAPD even as the threat of El Niño and its inclement weather continues to loom over the southland.

Other plaintiffs include the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, which as a part of their programs offers free shopping carts to unsheltered homeless persons to store and move their personal belongings, and the Los Angeles Community Action Network, which aims to empower homeless residents to protect their rights and also dedicates significant resources to help residents locate their property after it has been seized.

The lawsuit comes after the City announced it is unable to meet an initial commitment of $100 million to address the deepening homelessness crisis in the City, which experienced a 12% increase in the county’s homeless population last year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

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