BREAKING: Supreme Court Punishes Unhoused People for Not Having a Home

Despite widespread understanding that everybody needs a safe place to sleep, the Supreme Court, in a profoundly disappointing ruling, decided today that homeless people are not included in the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment. This sets a dangerous precedent for the quarter of a million people who sleep outside each night in America and for the millions of families who are just one missed paycheck away from homelessness. 

Arrests and fines are not solutions to homelessness because they do not address the underlying causes of the crisis. Instead, these measures make it more difficult for people to access the affordable housing, health services, and employment necessary to become rehoused.

While this decision will not have an immediate impact on Virginia law, it empowers states and cities across the nation to punish people who are forced to sleep outside, even when they have no other safe option. 

For more information about the City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson case and opportunities to advocate in response, read the National Homelessness Law Center’s statement here.


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