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Court order limiting breakup of some Santa Rosa homeless camps extended through 2020

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Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, after legal discussions with advocates for local homeless people, have agreed to extend limits on clearing homeless encampments on public property within city limits, according to a federal court order.

Tuesday’s decree by U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria extended a preliminary injunction until Dec. 31 that was agreed to last summer and was set to expire next month.

The case arose when homeless people and advocates tried to stop the clearing of an encampment behind the Dollar Tree on Sebastopol Road in early 2018.

Though the suit’s initial aim failed, the legal battle it spawned, as well as a separate case emanating from Boise, Idaho, has fundamentally reshaped how local authorities deal with disbanding camps on public land. Now, they must comply with a list of prerequisites, including offering adequate replacement shelter and storage, before moving people who are sleeping on public property.

The terms of the injunction have been subject to negotiation by attorneys, though the most recent order made no obvious changes beside the expiration date.

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