The ASL, in Laguna Canyon, was the culmination of a homeless advocacy process that began when the ACLU of Southern California filed a lawsuit against the city in late 2008, accusing city officials of violating the constitutional rights of homeless people by not allowing them to sleep on public land or providing an alternative. The ASL facility costs the city about $20,000 a month to operate. The Friendship Shelter supervises the site during the evening and overnight hours, and the Resource Center provides assistance to the homeless during the day.
The year began on a sad note for the homeless community and activists when Charles Reginald Conwell, known as "Cowboy," was struck and killed Jan. 9, 2010, on Laguna Canyon Road while making his way on foot to the previous shelter at the ACT V lot. Cowboy had been a familiar face on the streets of Laguna Beach for some 30 years.