National Alliance to End Homelessness Statement on the Supreme Court’s Ruling in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2024 — The National Alliance to End Homelessness today condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson. Under the ruling, localities will be able to arrest, ticket, and fine people for sleeping outdoors on public property, even if leaders have failed to produce enough affordable housing or shelter for everyone in the community who needs it.

Alliance leaders expressed extreme disappointment at the ruling, noting that it will do nothing to address the primary cause of homelessness in the United States: a severe, prolonged, nationwide shortage of affordable housing.

“This decision sets a dangerous precedent that will cause undue harm to people experiencing homelessness and give free reign to local officials who prefer pointless and expensive arrests and imprisonment, rather than real solutions,” said Ann Oliva, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “At a time when elected officials need to be focused on long-term, sustainable solutions that are grounded in evidence – including funding the affordable housing and supportive services that their constituents need — this ruling allows leaders to shift the burden to law enforcement. This tactic has consistently failed to reduce homelessness in the past, and it will assuredly fail to reduce homelessness in the future.”

The ruling comes at a time when harmful and coercive homelessness policies are on the rise, despite opposition from frontline homeless service providers in communities all over the country.

The Alliance calls on federal, state and local leaders to reject the false promises of a law enforcement approach to homelessness, and instead leverage their unique influence to advocate for the resources their communities desperately need. These include: making major and sustained investments in our nation’s rental assistance programs and homelessness prevention; investing in the production and preservation of housing available to those with the lowest incomes; and increasing investments in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Homeless Assistance programs.

The Alliance also encourages members of the public to actively engage with lawmakers to push back against the increasing trend towards criminalization of homelessness, and to advocate for the housing and services that their communities need. Resources for advocating can be found at https://endhomelessness.org/actions/sign-alliance-advocacy-alerts/.

About the National Alliance to End Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. As a leading voice on the issue of homelessness, the Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions; works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity; and provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates and educate the public and opinion leaders nationwide.

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