A lifelong Laguna Beach man is suing the city for the right to sleep in his car on public streets, a right he says is a basic human need and thereby protected by the constitution.
Lenard Porto has spent the last two years living in his car on the streets of Laguna Beach. His part time job no longer allows him to rent an apartment in the town he’s called home his entire life. Instead of leaving, which he doesn’t want to do, he’s been parking and hoping to avoid the police. He’s been lucky, but over the last two years 96 citations have been given for sleeping in public.
Laguna Beach has an estimated 60 homeless people on its streets at any given time. The city’s shelter offers 45 beds, but in order to sleep there, people must sign wavers. Porto says it is safer to sleep in his car than risk close proximity with the mentally unstable or addicts.
From the Orange County Register:
Leonard Porto says he just wants to be left alone.
The 55-year-old man became homeless in 2010 after years of renting in Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. He began sleeping in his car near the Laguna Beach coves where he learned to scuba dive. But even if he’s respectful of neighbors and keeps to himself, he said, he’s under constant threat of an encounter with police.
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