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Statement on SCOTUS decision to hear Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson


The Supreme Court’s concerning decision to review the case City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson could shape how cities and towns address homelessness for generations to come. At its core, this case questions whether people who have been forced to live on the streets can be punished for having nowhere else to go and whether cities and towns can destroy peoples’ possessions, including blankets, medicines and shelter.  

This case is an example of what happens when we blame individuals for problems created by decision makers. Encampments don’t cause homelessness. Sky high rents, not enough housing for people of all income levels and low paying jobs do. Local leaders have chosen to point the finger at people who have no other housing options instead of committing to do the hard but sustainable work that has proven over and over again to solve homelessness.

We hope city leaders will learn from Milwaukee, Chattanooga, Newark and Houston and prioritize real solutions rather than hiding behind the claim that their hands are tied.


The Housing Narrative Lab is a narrative research and communications hub dedicated to growing the public’s understanding of who experiences homelessness and why.