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ACLU sues Santa Barbara over homeless

March 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A civil liberties group has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Barbara, claiming it is unfairly criminalizing homeless people.The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California says it filed the suit Friday over the city's enforcement of an "anti-sleeping ordinance," which makes it illegal for any person to sleep overnight on public property - including beaches.

The ACLU says a temporary emergency shelter will be closing on April 1 and more than 100 homeless people will have nowhere to go.

The ACLU says 11 homeless people have died on the streets of Santa Barbara this year.

The civil liberties group is concerned about the fate of the homeless about to be forced out of the temporary shelters.

Santa Barbara City Attorney Stephen Wiley did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

On Tuesday, the city of Laguna Beach repealed a ban on sleeping on the street in response to an ACLU lawsuit.


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