AHCH Statement on Johnson V. Grants Pass Supreme Court Ruling

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Supreme Court Rules 6-3 to Criminalize Homelessness

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We have a disappointing update on the Johnson v Grants Pass Supreme Court case. Unfortunately--despite the outcries of thousands of advocates, survivors, and homeless plaintiffs--on Friday morning the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that people experiencing homelessness are not included in the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment and has sided in favor of an Oregon city’s ban on camping in public spaces.

This ruling undermines the right to housing and excuses the failures of the public systems that cause homelessness. Instead, it allows ordinances to take punitive measures against the people who are committing no crime other than just trying to survive a night on the street.

We are deeply disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of policies that criminalize homelessness. This decision has far-reaching consequences but does not change what we already know: fines and jailtime will never solve homelessness. Only housing can solve homelessness. Criminalization and forced displacement only compound the many challenges that people experiencing homelessness face to obtain housing---trapping people in the violent cycle of homelessness. 

While this ruling is devastating and could lead to increased displacement, trauma, and confusion for people forced to live on the streets, it is important to note that this ruling does not mandate cities and states to arrest people who are surviving in public spaces. As we continue to work to achieve justice and amplify our clients' voices---We will continue our advocacy to steer decisionmakers towards evidence-based solutions and resources for ending homelessness such as supportive services, accessible health care, and affordable housing. 

In solidarity,

All of us at Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless

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An article recently released by CityDesk ABQ explores the consequences that this ruling will have in Albuquerque and the current state of affairs.

Here are some statements from our national partners below along with national coverage.


Media coverage:

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