ACLU Urges Burien to Repeal Unconstitutional Law Targeting the Homeless

News Release: 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The ACLU of Washington today released a letter sent to Burien officials urging the repeal of a recently adopted law targeting the homeless. In the attached letter, the ACLU explains the ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and overly broad, and invites arbitrary enforcement.

The ordinance designates a broad, vaguely defined set of behaviors (including “loud vocal expression” and “boisterous physical behavior”) and personal attributes (including “bodily odor or scent”) as grounds for exclusion from all publicly owned property in the city.

“Instead of this heavy-handed and ineffective approach to the problem, the council should take steps to connect people with urgently needed services, such as shelter, temporary housing, counseling for substance abuse and mental illness, and access to facilities for basic hygiene,” says the ACLU.