Sign the petition to the Supreme Court: Affirm the right to adequate housing

On April 22, 2024, the United States Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments for City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, the first major case on homelessness to be heard by the Supreme Court since the 1980s.

Grants Pass, a city in Oregon of 48,000 people, began penalizing those who find refuge on public property due to a lack of safe, alternative shelters. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had previously held that cities cannot fine, ticket, arrest, or otherwise punish people experiencing homelessness for sleeping on public property when no shelter is available, which constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Labeling individuals grappling with housing instability as criminals is not only unjust but echoes discriminatory practices reminiscent of the Jim Crow era, seeking to remove the visibility of the impoverished from society. The notion that the underprivileged deserve housing – but not within certain neighborhoods – reflects a ‘Not In My backyard’ (NIMBY) mentality.

The Supreme Court should consider these three points in favor of plaintiff Johnson:
  1. Being homeless is not a criminal offense. The Fourth Amendment safeguards individuals from unreasonable government intrusion, which extends to those without homes.
  2. The Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment, which should include sanctions for sitting, sleeping, or lying down in places where shelter is unavailable.
  3. The lack of affordable housing in the U.S. has forced many diligent people to choose between basic necessities such as housing, food, or medication.
Homelessness stems from structural policy failures, not a lack of inspiration among those striving for the so-called American dream. Political resolve is required to reverse the cycle of poverty and to uphold the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all, including those experiencing homelessness.

Sign the petition urging the Supreme Court to end the criminalization of homelessness and to affirm the right to adequate housing.

Participating Organizations:
Bring America Home Now
Coalition on Human Needs
Daily Kos Liberation League
Demand Justice
Left Click
National Coalition for the Homeless
Native Voters Alliance Nevada
People Demanding Action
Trans Empowerment Project