Do homeless have right to camp on public property? Supreme Court will decide

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The debate about the right to camp in public spaces took center stage at a recent Supreme Court hearing. The case, City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, challenges a Ninth Circuit ruling that prohibits penalties for sleeping with blankets and other paraphernalia on public property. The ruling has stirred considerable debate about the balance between compassion and public safety.

The Ninth Circuit, known for its progressive decisions, argues that imposing such penalties amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” for individuals who, ostensibly, have no other living options. This perspective, however, is contentious.

In Los Angeles County and elsewhere across California, significant numbers of homeless individuals reportedly refuse shelter even when it’s available. San Francisco authorities indicate that 60% of homeless people decline shelter offers, complicating efforts to address the crisis.

Homeless advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, maintain that living on the streets is a “victimless” crime. Municipal leaders across California, echoing broader national concerns, argue that federal court decisions should not override local efforts to manage public spaces, as seen in anti-camping regulations adopted and then challenged in cities across the Western states.

The Supreme Court’s impending decision could fundamentally impact how municipalities nationwide address homelessness. The expected ruling might allow for a reinstatement of bans on public camping, a move supported by several major California political figures, including Governor Gavin Newsom.

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California noted $24 billion in recent expenditures in its ongoing struggle with homelessness.

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ctc
ctc
16 days ago

Swing by any “urban camping” area and you’ll find piles of garbage/debris/human waste, graffiti/vandalism, open drug use/discarded drug paraphernalia, violent/erratic/threatening behavior, and increased crime rates (not to mention the inevitable fire that will break out). How anyone could view that as “victimless” is beyond me.

Cy Husain
24 days ago

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 👑 , held that Grants Pass would be in violation of the Eighth Amendment were it to enforce its bans “when there was no other place in the City for [homeless persons] to go.” The Eighth Amendment prohibits a local government from effectively criminalizing the status of homelessness by completely barring individuals without access to shelter from residing in the jurisdiction. Our unhoused neighbors are internally displaced refugees who should be greeted with tents, sleeping bags, clothing. and food. The unhoused should also be made aware of their rights to vote in the upcoming… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Cy Husain
Jonathan Hong-Dowling
Jonathan Hong-Dowling
29 days ago

It’s interesting that affluent neighborhoods like Hancock Park, Bel Air, and Pacific don’t have any homeless encampments. Considering the amenities and safety these areas offer, one might wonder why more unhoused individuals don’t choose to set up camps there. The sidewalk outside the residence of LA Mayor’s residence in Hancock Park could easily accommodate 15-20 people in tents.
Hopefully, the Supreme Court will address this situation and allow municipalities to manage these ‘urban campers’ more effectively.

SeeMe
SeeMe
29 days ago

I believe most residential streets in Bel Air and the Palisades don’t have public sidewalks, nor – typically – commercial districts adjacent to them. Hancock Park has sidewalks but it is also removed from commercial districts typically traversed by the unhoused/homeless.

West
1 month ago

A California state auditor’s report released last week found that despite roughly $24 billion spent on homeless and housing programs during the 2018-2023 fiscal years, the problem didn’t improve in most cities.

The California Interagency Council on Homelessness, responsible for issuing homeless funds and tracking program outcomes, stopped keeping track entirely in 2021. They blamed local governments for mismanaging funds, which at least tracks with West Hollywood’s failed political leadership.

Newsom has zero political will or credibility… or maybe he’s just tired from his 15-year long “five year plan” to end homelessness.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago
Reply to  West

I wonder what they spent on that study. Any sighted person could have come to the same conclusion, with no money spent on a study. Until there is a plan to get these people out of the cities, like many other cities are starting to do, the problem will continue to get worse.

Joshua88
Joshua88
18 days ago
Reply to  West

The same report also should have shown that giving the unhoused $750 – 1000/month, in direct payments, would cost a whole lot less and be a whole lot more effective.

gdaddy
gdaddy
1 month ago

Hopefully they give cities/states the rights to kick homeless encampments off the streets, parks and sidewalks. That said, I’m sure WeHo will continue to welcome it and take on nearby areas that ban public camping.

hahah
hahah
29 days ago
Reply to  gdaddy

lets not forget that all the bus stops are now being taken over by them as well.

SeeMe
SeeMe
1 month ago

So the two women attacked by a homeless man in the Venice Canals aren’t actually victims because the crime was committed by a homeless person?

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago

Laws need to apply equally to everyone. No special “camping rights” for people who chose to be vagrants. Local laws are starting to change where some places are sending people who don’t want to pay rent outside of town, to encampments. We also need to change laws so it’s illegal to beg for food or money on public property, with long jail terms for both the beggar and for the fool donating on public property. Do we want to solve this problem and get these people out of town, or do we want to continue with the current plan dooming… Read more »

Long Time Resident (Before Weho was WeHo)
Long Time Resident (Before Weho was WeHo)
29 days ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

So you want both lower incomed people AND the houseless to move to Barstow and surrounding desert areas? The metropolitan areas are only to be inhabited by the wealthy?

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
29 days ago

I didn’t say that. I want people to live where they can afford to live. It’s really quite simple. You don’t seem to get that concept.

SeeMe
SeeMe
29 days ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

I would imagine you support Institutionalized Racism as well. Just keep people down so you can stay up…and keep them out of your sight, too!

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
1 month ago

It would be wonderful if those who support the “victimless” homeless camps actually allow them into their homes and/or to camp out on their property. This way, everyone wins; the homeless, the supporters, and the average citizen who just wants a safe, clean environment provided by city officials.

Cy Husain
24 days ago

I’m ahead of you an this one. When I welcomed the unhoused over to my place and tried to set up unoccupied spaces for some to camp out in, the building management👹 issued me a cease and desist letter threatening to have me evicted

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