Homeless Lawsuit Settlement

Fresno, CA, USA With new clothes in hand, Jeannine Nelson walked up a flight of stairs. She opened the door to her new and first home in 13 years. All paid after a major court victory. Nelson said, "I have a home. My grand kids can come see me now. My children can come see me now. And it feels good."

One year ago, life for Jeannine was drastically different. She was homeless, living along a Central Fresno canal. While what happened is still very painful, it changed her life forever.

Two years ago, city workers cleared homeless campus and trashed everything. Nelson and more than 200 others filed a lawsuit claiming the city violated their rights by destroying their property. The homeless won a $2.3-million settlement. Nelson's attorney says the money is supporting all who sued and still sending a message to cities across California. ACLU Attorney Michael Risher said, "Governments should follow the constitution, follow state law …You can clean up areas where homeless people are living without injuring anyone, with destroying anyone's property ... Without violating people's rights."

Not all the plaintiffs were lifted out of homelessness. Nelson said some wasted their portion of the settlement. Nelson said, "I've seen so many people squandered the money. And it's gone to drugs and alcohol. That is heart breaking to me."

Just taking a short walk down the stairs reminds nelson to be grateful for finally having a home.


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