NLIHC Submits Amicus Brief to SCOTUS Urging Court to Support Rights of Unhoused People

NLIHC, together with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, submitted on April 3 an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the rights of unhoused people in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson. Read the amicus brief.

City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson is the most significant court case about the rights of people experiencing homelessness in decades. The Supreme Court will decide whether communities that have failed to address the need for affordable housing and shelter can ticket, fine, or arrest unhoused people for sleeping outside with a pillow or blanket, even when there are no other safe or adequate housing or shelter options available.

In the amicus brief, NLIHC and other national leaders urge the Supreme Court to find that Grants Pass’s anti-camping ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution’s 8th amendment banning cruel and unusual punishment. The amicus brief explains that homelessness is primarily driven by our nation’s worsening affordable housing crisis, with America’s lowest-income and most marginalized renters facing a severe shortage of homes affordable and available to them, and a widening gap between incomes and housing costs. Ticketing, fining, or arresting unhoused individuals does not address these root causes of homelessness and instead both exacerbates the crisis and fuels racial inequities.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 22 and will likely issue a decision in June.