Unity Stands for the Safety and Dignity of the Unhoused | Supreme Court & Grants Pass v. Johnson

In the News
Apr 22, 2024

Today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the caseof Grants Pass v. Johnson challenging an Oregon city ordinance banning people from sleeping or camping inpublic spaces.  

A ruling in favor of Grants Pass would make it legal to ticket, arrest, or otherwise fine people for sleeping outside, essentially criminalizing unsheltered homelessness and putting every person who sleeps outside at risk of being arrested. 

This is the most significant Supreme Court case on homelessness in decades and its decision could result in the introduction of harmful legislation in cities across the country targeting poor, marginalized neighbors for merely being alive with nowhere to go. 

Nearly 40 years ago, Unity was founded as Health Care for the Homeless Project with the specific goal of meeting the primary healthcare needs of those experiencing homelessness in DC. Whether it’s through our work in the shelters, our mobile van, medical respite sites, or beyond, providing safe, dignified spaces of healing for all will forever be core to the Unity Mission. 

As a direct provider for people experiencing homelessness, we know that responding with tickets, fines, and jail time does not address or end homelessness, but that unnecessary involvement with the legal system does exacerbate existing barriers and suffering. 

Unity signed onto an amicus curiae brief in advance of today’s arguments before the Supreme Court to argue against penalties that punish homelessness and hinder efforts to secure shelter. Signees of the brief advocate for the redirection of funds and focus toward substantial investment in supportive wrap-around services. Today and always, we stand with those experiencing homelessness and will continue to amplify their voices and advocate for their right to health, safety, and dignity.

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