06/28/2024

Corporation for Supportive Housing Denounces the Supreme Court’s Decision and Calls for Decisive Action Based on Data-Driven, Effective Solutions to Homelessness 

For Immediate Release | Contact Jesse Dean, jesse.dean@csh.org or 347-931-0132 

June 28, 2024 | New York, NY - CSH is deeply saddened and profoundly disappointed by today’s Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling on Johnson v. Grants Pass that overturned constitutional protections for people experiencing homelessness.  CSH echoes Justice Sotomayor's statement in her dissenting opinion that in part read, today, the court unequivocally “abdicates” its “role in safeguarding constitutional liberties for the most vulnerable among us.”   

This unconscionable decision endangers the lives of more than 653,000 people experiencing homelessness, exposing them to further harm and making it even more challenging to escape homelessness. 

“The Court’s majority decision blatantly ignores compelling evidence that penalizing homeless individuals with fines, arrests, and incarceration has been tried and repeatedly failed. Instead, it imposes unnecessary costs on taxpayers and perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty and instability, further burdening an already overtaxed carceral system,” said Deborah De Santis, CSH President and CEO. “While it is not the Supreme Court's role to solve homelessness, the ruling gives jurisdictions a blank slate to punish people who are homeless while doing nothing to address the primary drivers of rising homelessness, which are a widespread and severe shortage of affordable housing and services.” 

More than three decades of evidence and success stories from cities like Houston, Milwaukee, and Denver demonstrate the transformational impact of shifting resources from costly emergency responses to affordable housing and supportive services. These initiatives have significantly reduced homeless encampments, stabilized neighborhoods, and spurred economic growth. 

In stark contrast, the Grants Pass approach of penalizing people for using basic necessities like pillows and blankets when no shelter is available not only sidesteps real solutions but also shifts the burden to neighboring cities, increases taxpayer costs and perpetuates homelessness. 

With the latest data, older adults, and people becoming homeless for the first time are among the fastest growing segments of people falling into homelessness.  

“This ruling moves this country in a frighteningly disturbing direction where our older citizens and retirees with limited incomes run the risk of being jailed for merely being unable to pay for rising costs of basic necessities like rent, food, and medical care,” said De Santis.  

CSH calls on elected officials and community leaders to reject this damaging ruling and embrace common-sense, cost-effective strategies. These include mobilizing public health teams, connecting individuals to housing and supportive services, and leveraging insights from those with lived experiences of homelessness. Such approaches uphold individual dignity, improve community outcomes, and enhance public safety. 

Elected officials must seize this moment to stop deferring real solutions and take decisive action. CSH urges them to: 

  • Advance federal and state policies that accelerate new affordable housing development and repair and preserve existing supportive and public housing.  
  • Adequately fund supportive services coordinated across systems and that are voluntary and self-directed for participants.  
  • Prioritize funding of rental assistance and eviction prevention programs for low-income individuals and families.  
  • Pass federal and state policies that support the financial well-being of people living in supportive housing and livable wages for staff working in the supportive housing and services sectors. 

“The country can turn this setback into a catalyst for real, lasting change where everyone has a chance to have a place to call home. By investing in proven solutions, we can create sustainable, respectful, and thriving communities, reducing the burden on taxpayers and ensuring a dignified life for every individual,” added De Santis.  

For information and resources on the better way forward to addressing homelessness in your community visit www.csh.org/better-way-forward.  

About CSH 

CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing) advances affordable and accessible housing aligned with services by advocating for effective policies and funding, equitably investing in communities, and strengthening the supportive housing field. Since our founding in 1991, CSH has been the only national nonprofit intermediary focused solely on increasing the availability of supportive housing. Over the course of our work, we have created more than 467,600 units of affordable and supportive housing and distributed over $1.5 billion in loans and grants. Our workforce is central to accomplishing this work. We employ approximately 170 people across 30 states and U.S. Territories. As an intermediary, we do not directly develop or operate housing but center our approach on collaboration with a wide range of people, partners, and sectors. For more information, visit www.csh.org. 

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