Making Homelessness Illegal

Recent controversies at SCOTUS might overshadow the news about this upcoming case, Grants Pass vs. Johnson. Today, the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments about this question: Should camping on public property be illegal if there are no other housing options for people experiencing homelessness?

The Grants Pass city council basically decided that their solution to rising homelessness in their city was to make it harder for these people to stay. Of course, if every city did this then homelessness wouldn’t go away, it would just make life harder for people without housing. This Vox article does a nice job outlining the key issues.

Fining, ticketing, or arresting unhoused people — which local governments will be more easily able to do if Grants Pass is overturned — will make it harder for homeless people, who already cannot afford shelter, to obtain permanent housing later on.
Having a criminal record can make it more difficult to land a job, stable housing, and receive government benefits. Even among those who do find jobs, employees with records generally face significant earning penalties.

What’s at stake for homeless people this week at the Supreme Court - Vox


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT