.Sausalito agrees to pay $540,000 to homeless encampment residents

The City of Sausalito and the Sausalito Homeless Union reached a settlement agreement on Friday, ending more than 18 months of extremely contentious litigation.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sausalito will pay $540,000 to the Sausalito Homeless Union. From that fund, 30 homeless people will receive $18,000 each to be spent on housing or housing related expenses. All the recipients are current or former residents of the city-sanctioned encampment, which is now located on the Marinship tennis courts.

“It was difficult to pick 30 people,” Anthony Prince, attorney for the Homeless Union, said. “We had to systematically determine who is most in need of housing. Not everyone is going to get the assistance they deserve. But most of the people who were at Dunphy Park and then moved to Marinship Park are included in the settlement.”

The agreement requires the funds to be distributed directly to the homeless individuals. The 30 people will have agency to decide what type of durable housing is suitable for them and their families.

The City of Sausalito will be appointing a housing coordinator to work with the Homeless Union to connect people to housing. After everyone is housed, the city plans to shut down the encampment.

“I am confident we have paved a humane course of action that allows each person’s unique needs to be met,” Sausalito Mayor Janelle Kellman said in a press release issued by the city. “This agreement will allow us to help folks restore their lives in a way that is far more compassionate and safer than the unfortunate circumstance of living outdoors.”

The city has spent more than $1.5 million in expenses related to the homeless encampment, mostly on legal fees and a controversial organization to manage the camp.

There is no gag order on the parties regarding the terms of the agreement. The names of the 30 people receiving the funds will not be a part of the public record; however, those individuals are free to share the information.

Surprisingly, the settlement agreement does not address the city’s anti-camping ordinance, which was the catalyst for homeless people to establish the Sausalito chapter of the Homeless Union and file the lawsuit. The ordinance, passed by the city council in February 2021, bans homeless people from sleeping on public property, except at the city-sanctioned encampment in Marinship.

Once the encampment is closed, where will homeless people be permitted to sleep in Sausalito? Nowhere, unless the city changes the ordinance, which doesn’t appear likely to happen.

“Our [the Homeless Union] position is the ordinance is unlawful and unconstitutional,” Prince said. “The parties are in agreement that the settlement does not resolve those concerns.”

The ordinance violates Martin v. Boise, a 2018 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which states cities must allow homeless people to sleep on public property unless it can provide them with an appropriate alternative shelter option, according to Prince. There are far more homeless people in Marin than shelter beds.

Prince acknowledges the ordinance was an important issue for the Homeless Union and that they didn’t get everything they wanted from the settlement agreement.

“We’re not happy about that, but we didn’t see any alternative, Prince said. “It was a necessary compromise on our part to get housing for the people the homeless union represents.”

The new president of the Sausalito Homeless Union, Arthur Bruce, said he’s one of the 30 recipients. He believes the funding is a good first step to stabilize people and help them get back on their feet.

“I’m beyond delighted because it will allow me to spend more time with my children and provide better for them,” Bruce said.

Nikki Silverstein
Got a Hero or a Zero? Please send submissions to [email protected] Toss roses, hurl stones with more Heroes and Zeroes at pacificsun.com.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Should be more, but this is still a major victory for the citizens of the last vestige of the original free-floating boat community. They have been subjected to illegal assaults from the massive corrupt cabal arrayed against them while experiencing zero support from the local community who are tied up to the hideous bay killing, profit-generating, money laundering new docks. Cudos and best wishes that this signals a turning of the tide.

    • It is taxpayer money, although the City of Sausalito has not yet confirmed the specific source of the funds.

  2. This is not accurate of what happened in Federal Court. I listened to the hearing. It is not a money settlement as this portrays it to be. It is much more complicated legally than this. Judge Chen set another conference. The other judge is a magistrate judge, but Judge Chen’s the head judge on the case, and he will oversee the whole case. This is not a “victory” for the homeless in Sausalito. What I saw at the hearing was a few people protecting their own personal interests, not the homeless population themselves.

    • Lovey, there has not been a hearing in federal court regarding the settlement agreement. Perhaps you’re referring to the status conference that took place on August 2 in Judge Chen’s court? If so, there were 10 separate lawsuits being discussed, including the Homeless Union’s lawsuit against Sausalito. The other nine lawsuits were filed pro se by homeless individuals for alleged civil rights violations by Sausalito. So, yes, some of those individuals spoke about their own cases and their own interests. In addition, attorneys for the Homeless Union and Sausalito spoke briefly about working on the settlement agreement for the larger case, which was initiated by the Homeless Union on behalf of a group of homeless people in Sausalito. Two days later, the terms of the agreement were announced by both parties, and it is a monetary settlement in the amount of $540,000 to benefit 30 homeless people, as detailed in the article above. Under the terms of the agreement, if any of the people who filed pro se lawsuits receive a portion of the settlement funds, they will be required to drop their individual claims. Assuming the court approves the settlement agreement, the Sausalito Homeless Union v City of Sausalito case will be dismissed.

  3. I’m wondering if this includes the homeless people who’s boat were taken and crushed,like mine In 2019 ,while I was at Thanksgiving dinner.i haven’t had a home since.cant find a case worker and have been tossed around .I don’t no if my name is on the list I would certainly hope so I lost part of my life after loosing my home 9f 12 years .since then me and my dog haven’t been able to find housing or a shelter that can provide me with my one and only goal,housing. ❤️

    • Sorry, it does not include any anchor-outs.

      Step #1: get out of California. There are many other places with a lot more resources who can help you. Anywhere but the San Francisco Bay area. What you are asking for is simply not available here but it is elsewhere. Just the way it is. By staying and demanding something that is not available, you are delaying your own future.

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