Sunday, May 24, 2009

Homeless sue St. Petersburg,
claim abuse of constitutional rights

Six homeless people backed by a handful of advocacy organizations have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the city of St. Petersburg that challenges the constitutionality of a series of ordinances that target homeless people.

The city has passed six ordinances that restrict some behaviors associated with street homelessness in recent years, including measures that limit where and when the homeless can sleep and the amount of personal belongings they can keep by their side.

"What has been happening in St. Petersburg over the past couple years is one of the worst examples nationally of widespread abuse of homeless persons' civil and human rights," said Tulin Ozdeger, civil rights director for the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, one of three organizations representing the city's homeless.

The lawsuit, filed in Tampa, claims the city's ordinances violate various constitutional protections, including freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, freedom from unreasonable searches and free speech.

Read the St. Petersburg Times report here. See previous post here and check out the post at End Homelessness.


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