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Supreme Court shamefully rules Constitution does not protect homeless people

Date: Jun 28 2024

Contact: Media Relations

Statement from APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD

“In a profoundly disappointing ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court today overturned a Ninth Circuit ruling and decided that it is Constitutional to arrest or fine homeless individuals when they have no choice other than to sleep in public using things like blankets or pillows.

The Court’s decision will only worsen homelessness. Arrests and fines are not solutions to homelessness because they punish unhoused people and do not address the underlying causes of the crisis. These measures make it more difficult for people to access the affordable housing, health services and employment necessary to become rehoused.

Despite the setback, we find strength in the compelling dissent by Justice Sotomayor as she ended with 'I remain hopeful that someday in the near future, this Court will play its role in safeguarding Constitutional liberties for the most vulnerable among us.'

APHA is committed to ensuring that everybody has a safe place to call home, which we know will lead to improved health outcomes. We filed a brief in support of this case and will continue to advocate for this important public health issue. We call on the Biden administration and Congress to invest the necessary funding to ensure that everyone has access to safe, decent housing that they can afford.”


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