Homelessness

Court Seems Skeptical About LA Ban Against Living in Cars

Lawsuit filed by group of homeless

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A federal appeals court on Thursday appeared to be leaning toward striking down a Los Angeles city ban on homeless people living in their cars or recreational vehicles on public streets and in parking lots.

"It's very hard to figure out what you're talking about," Judge Marsha Berzon told the lawyer for the city.

The city's ordinance dates back to 1983, but came under fire in 2010 when a special Los Angeles police task force, responding to neighborhood complaints, began aggressive enforcement in Venice.

A group of homeless car dwellers filed suit in 2011 challenging the law. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner dismissed the suit, and the plaintiffs appealed.

Unlike other cities, which bar sleeping in vehicles or overnight parking, Los Angeles prohibits using cars as "living quarters" both overnight and "day-by-day, or otherwise."