The horrific conditions in the shelters, as well as punishment for merely objecting to them, are not just inhumane, they’re illegal

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Orange County, charging that conditions in the emergency shelters violate California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, and provisions of the California Constitution that protect freedom of movement and ward against retaliation and invasions of privacy. 

Orange County residents who cannot afford permanent housing face arrest and physical danger if they live outside. In response to a lawsuit challenging the arrest of unhoused persons who lacked alternative living accommodations, Defendants Orange County and Anaheim established additional homeless shelter capacities. These shelters allow Defendants Orange County and Anaheim to arrest unhoused persons living on their streets, on the grounds that those individuals are not availing themselves of the shelters. As a result, people who cannot afford housing are forced to either reside at these shelters or face arrest.

Case Developments

December 10, 2020
Plaintiffs filed their complaint and petition for writ of mandate charging that Orange County, the City of Anaheim, and the contractors who provide shelter and security services have violated the civil rights of the people they are supposed to care for.



Minouche Kandel (ACLU Foundation of Southern California); Sharre Lotfollahi, Edward Hillenbrand, Benjamin Yaghoubian, Joshua Glucoft, Yvonne Stoddard, Kathryn Panish (Kirkland & Ellis LLP); Michael Risher (Law Office of Michael Risher)

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Date filed

December 10, 2020


Superior Court in Orange County