Jeff Selbin Condemns San Francisco’s Unlawful Homeless Encampment Sweeps

Jeff Selbin (’89), Chancellor’s Clinical Professor of Law, Founder and Faculty Director of the Policy Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, contributed an opinion to the San Francisco Chronicle examining how the City of San Francisco’s removal of homeless encampments violates the constitutional rights of unhoused residents, with Judge Donna Ryu issuing a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit against the city (“San Francisco’s Homeless Sweeps Are Unlawful — And the City Will Pay For It,” Dec. 21). “They relentlessly harass unhoused people under threat of arrest or citation for trying to survive in the face of San Francisco’s biggest political and humanitarian failure — its persistent, decades-long unwillingness to build affordable housing for thousands of its long-time residents. . . . The reality is that on any given night, nearly twice as many San Francisco residents experience homelessness as the city has shelter beds. . . . [U]nder the Constitution, San Francisco cannot continue to inflict harm on people just because they have nowhere else to sleep. That is cruel and unusual punishment — beneath the city and its avowedly enlightened policies. . . . Affordable housing, not handcuffs, is the only humane, effective and lawful solution to homelessness.”