Activists Turn to California Environmental Law to Block Homeless Shelters

Residents protest against a proposal to erect a temporary homeless shelter in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on June 3, 2018. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Residents protest against a proposal to erect a temporary homeless shelter in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles on June 3, 2018. (Credit: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier this spring, residents of a San Francisco waterfront neighborhood put up a plea on GoFundMe, seeking to raise $100,000 to file a lawsuit under one of California’s landmark environmental laws.

The fundraiser, which surpassed its goal, wasn’t intended to fight a toxic waste facility or industrial warehouse. Instead, residents plan to sue to stop a temporary homeless shelter proposed on a parking lot in their community.

State and local governments have dedicated billions of dollars in recent years toward homeless housing and services, even as the state’s unhoused population has increased to nearly 130,000 residents. But some efforts to build temporary and permanent housing have run into a form of opposition that could only happen in California.

Two months before activists in San Francisco started their GoFundMe, residents near a proposed shelter in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood filed suit under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA — a nearly half-century-old law that requires developers to disclose a project’s environmental effects and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. That lawsuit, which activists have raised $220,000 to support, is ongoing and the shelter’s construction hasn’t begun.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

 

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