Ten homeless people and a nonprofit group sued the city of Albany in federal court today in a bid to block the city’s plan to evict them from a former bayside landfill known as the “Bulb.”
The civil rights lawsuit, lodged in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, asks for a temporary restraining order and/or an injunction barring Albany from removing homeless people from the site until the city has found adequate shelter for them.
It alleges, “The effects of driving the people now living on the Bulb from their home and shelters at the beginning of the rainy season—without providing those people any viable alternative—will be devastating.”
About 60 people are now living in tents and structures at the tip of the former landfill, according to the lawsuit. The site juts out into San Francisco Bay near the Golden Gate Fields horseracing track.
The 10 individuals, who say they are mentally or physically disabled, are joined in the suit by Albany Housing Advocates.
The lawsuit claims the eviction plan violates their federal constitutional rights to due process, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and security from unreasonable searches and seizures.
It also claims the plan violates the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act because temporary shelter to be offered by the city allegedly will not accommodate the disabled individuals’ needs.
The Albany City Council voted in May to begin a process of incorporating the Bulb into the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park and to start enforcing the city’s no-camping ordinance there in October.
On Oct. 21, the council approved a $570,000 transition plan that includes assistance and temporary transitional shelter for homeless people; cleanup of the campsites; and transfer of the Bulb to the state park.
The lawsuit was assigned to U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News