July 10, 2024

CCA is deeply concerned about the recent US Supreme Court decision in Johnson v. Grants Pass which allows communities to criminalize homelessness. More specifically, the Supreme Court determined that the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment does not prohibit the City of Grants Pass, OR from enforcing criminal punishments against people who are homeless for camping outside in the city. 

In April, CCA signed on to an amicus brief explaining the devastating effects this ruling could have on youth experiencing homelessness.  

CCA stands firmly with individuals experiencing homelessness & their need for safe and affordable housing. 

“We know that housing is the platform from which young people can stabilize and thrive.  And that criminalizing individuals- fines, tickets, arrests- will not improve homelessness and, worse, will waste valuable financial resources that must be used toward housing.”  Stacey Violante Cote, CCA’s Deputy Director & Director, Right Direction: Homeless Youth Advocacy Project.

We know that homelessness is the result of failed systems.  As Justice Sotomayor recognized in her dissent quoting the amicus brief, “For young people, ‘family dysfunction and rejection, sexual abuse, juvenile legal system involvement, “aging out” of the foster care system, and economic hardship’ make them particularly vulnerable to homelessness.” We cannot sit by while states and municipalities criminalize young people for the failure of their systems.

We urge communities to enact policies that increase affordable and available housing; invest in proven resources in the homeless response system; and invest in access to appropriate health and behavioral health services.

For resources for youth experiencing homelessness, click here

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