Lawsuit Challenges Cincinnati's Homeless Encampment Ban
Nick Swartsell reports on the newest frontline in the ongoing evolution of how cities deal with large homeless encampments. The setting for this legal conflict is Cincinnati:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton County judge who issued a county-wide ban on tent cities this summer, arguing that the ban is an overreach.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman issued the ban in August after city officials played cat-and-mouse with residents of a series of tent cities in downtown Cincinnati. That ban, instituted over a successively larger area over the course of roughly 10 days, effectively made it illegal to sleep outside or in a tent anywhere in the county.
Following the implementation of the ban, New Prospect Baptist Church offered to house homeless people on church land, running afoul of the new ban. Enter the ACLU, which is taking on the ban on New Prospect's behalf, charging that the ban is too broad if it prevents the church from its humanitarian mission.