NWLC Statement on Supreme Court’s Johnson v. Grants Pass Decision

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today released its decision in Johnson v. Grants Pass, ruling that it is constitutional to fine, arrest, or jail people experiencing homelessness for simple acts of using survival items like a blanket or a pillow in a public space when no alternative shelter is available.

See below for a statement from Sarah Hassmer, Director of Housing Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). 

“Today’s decision is deeply disturbing. Ticketing, fining, or arresting more people will not solve the problem of homelessness. The Court’s cruel and dangerous decision to allow localities to punish people experiencing homelessness rejects precedent on the issue, and will do nothing to address one of the root causes of homelessness, which is the high cost of rent.

“Women and LGBTQIA+ people are at great risk of housing instability and are more susceptible to losing their home due to a missed paycheck or emergency. On top of that, members of the LBGTQIA+ community, particularly trans people of color, face housing discrimination and bias, making it harder for them to find safe and secure housing.

“Given this dangerous court precedent, now more than ever, we need our political leaders to fight for proven solutions that will reduce homelessness. That includes working to expand affordable housing for people with the lowest incomes, implementing eviction prevention measures, and furthering fair housing.”