It might have been doomed from the start: The D.C. Court of Appeals today issued a final denial to the homeless men who charged that the closure of the shelter at the Franklin School in 2008 was illegal and unconstitutional.
In their case, homeless advocates argued that the shelter’s inhabitants had been denied their due process rights, deprived of their private property, and been victims of intentional infliction of emotional distress. In 2009, the District Court denied their request for injunctive relief, saying that there was no statutory or constitutional right to shelter, and that there had been adequate notice of the shelter’s closing and alternative lodging at other facilities.
Today, a three-judge panel upheld that decision, writing: “A homeless person or client who recieves medical or other services in the District from a provider does not have a protected property right or interest in those services grounded either in the Constitution or any District of Columbia statute; the exception is the statutory entitlement to shelter in severe or frigid weather.”
That doesn’t bode well for the lawsuit over La Casa shelter, also argued by public interest lawyer Jane Zara, which rests on some of the same arguments.