February 17, 1987: L.A. police swept Skid Row, launching twice-daily raids and seizing and dumping residents' property. After the ACLU/SC, Legal Aid Foundation and private attorneys sued, the city was forced to scale back police raids and give notice to homeless.
"It would appear that we have miraculously solved the horrible problem of destitute homelessness in our community by simply declaring it illegal," actor Martin Sheen ironically wrote in a local newspaper later that year.
Twenty years later, the ACLU/SC is again asking Los Angeles to stop criminalizing homelessness. In that time, the estimated number of homeless in L.A. County has more than doubled, from 35,000 to 88,000.