The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 28th was deeply disheartening, as it concluded that the US Constitution does not afford homeless individuals protection from cruel and unusual punishment, even when they have no alternative but to sleep in public with basic necessities like blankets or pillows. Arresting or fining individuals for simply trying to survive is both costly and counterproductive, not to mention cruel. This inhumane ruling, which contradicts the values of nearly three-quarters of Americans, will exacerbate homelessness in Grants Pass and across the nation.

“NCHV is disappointed the court’s ruling will empower communities across the country to continue to fine, imprison, and banish their neighbors for poverty. Today’s ruling makes it even more urgent that America focus on and invest in solutions that ensure veterans and their neighbors have access to proven solutions like housing and associated supports,” said Kathryn Monet, Chief Executive Officer of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Sunita Patel, law faculty and Faculty Director of the Veterans Legal Clinic said, “At the veteran’s clinic, we talk to hundreds of housing insecure and unhoused veterans every year. We know the individual and societal costs when laws are enacted to push our neighbors from their communities—early death, indignity, and police harassment. We must now rely on reasonable and sensible law makers to create better paths for the unhoused.”

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans extends its gratitude to the National Homeless Law Center, The UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic and all the 45 veteran service organizations that supported the amicus brief as well as the 42 other briefs submitted in support of the rights of the unhoused. Despite the ruling we know there is more work to be done and we will continue this work until all veterans have a secure and affordable place to call home.

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