Homeless encampment residents to receive $2M payout from Caltrans

Caltrans has agreed to pay $2 million for destroying unhoused people's belongings during sweeps of encampments. 

Under the settlement that was approved by Alameda County Superior Court last week, Caltrans must establish a $1.3 million fund to compensate people for their loss of property that was destroyed in the sweeps and pay $700,000 to Homeless Action Center to provide housing and benefits services for unhoused class members. 

The court is also requiring that the state agency adopt policies designed to prevent future destruction of homeless people's property and the agency must post notices at encampments with dates and times sweeps will occur. 

The lawsuit was filed in 2016 on behalf of homeless Californians who claimed their belongings including, food, clothing, and medical supplies, were destroyed during Caltrans sweeps between December 2014 and October 2019.  

“For years, Caltrans has unjustly seized the of property of unhoused people, violating the Fourth Amendment, and has swept countless homeless encampments, leaving the most vulnerable people in our society with nowhere to go,” said Elisa Della-Piana, Legal Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.