Posts tagged with "homelessness"

The Supreme Court And The Legalities of Homelessness

The United States Supreme Court has ruled on a number of cases related to homelessness, including the legality of certain laws and policies that affect homeless individuals and families.

Here are some key takeaways from the Court’s decisions:

  • The Court has recognized that homelessness is a serious problem in the United States.
  • The Court has held that the government has a legitimate interest in addressing homelessness.
  • However, the Court has also recognized that homeless individuals have certain constitutional rights, including the right to due process and the right to equal protection under the law.
  • The Court has ruled that certain laws and policies that target homeless individuals are unconstitutional.
  • The Court has also ruled that the government has a responsibility to provide adequate shelter for homeless individuals in certain circumstances.

Here are some specific examples of the Court’s rulings (some forthcoming) on homelessness:

  • In Martin v. Boise (2019), the Court ruled that a city ordinance that prohibited individuals from sleeping in public places was unconstitutional.
  • The Flores Settlement Agreement (1997), which arose out of Flores v. Reno, a 1987 California case. the Court ruled that the government has a responsibility to provide adequate shelter for homeless families with children.
  • In Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson, the justices will decide whether cities and states can effectively criminalize homelessness by penalizing people for sleeping outdoors.

The Court’s rulings on homelessness have had a significant impact on the way that the government and society address this issue. The Court’s decisions have helped to protect the rights of homeless individuals and have ensured that the government provides adequate shelter for homeless families with children.

Today the housing issue is back in the national spotlight after the Supreme Court heard oral argument on Monday and as reported by SCOTUSBlog, “in a case that one legal expert has called the ‘most important Supreme Court case about homelessness in at least 40 years.’ The issue before the court is the constitutionality of ordinances in an Oregon town that bar people who are homeless from using blankets, pillows, or cardboard boxes for protection from the elements while sleeping within the city limits. Defending the ordinances, the city contends that the laws simply bar camping on public property by everyone. But the challengers in the case counter that the ordinances effectively make it a crime to be homeless in the city.”

Follow the latest development on the Supreme Court’s ruling on homelessness and the housing crisis HERE or at SCOTUSBlog.

The AP also reported, “The case started in the rural Oregon town of Grants Pass, which began fining people $295 for sleeping outside as the cost of housing escalated and tents sprung up in the city’s public parks. The San Francisco-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law under its holding that banning camping in places without enough shelter beds amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.”

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 22: Homeless rights activists hold a rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, 2024 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court heard oral argument in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson and Smith v. Spizzirri, a dispute over the constitutionality of ordinances that bar people who are homeless from camping on city streets. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)