June 28, 2024

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Condemns Extreme SCOTUS Ruling Criminalizing Homelessness

WASHINGTON, DCCongresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson.

“With today’s shameful decision, this extremist conservative court is charting a dangerous path for a quarter million Americans who are vulnerable and facing housing insecurity. Let's be clear: fining, ticketing and even jailing people for sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to go is cruel and unusual punishment that will only exacerbate the fundamental crisis at hand. Furthermore, burdening these people with arrest records and fines will make it even more difficult for families in transition to secure jobs and safe and decent housing. 

“Months ago, I led a group of my colleagues in sounding the alarm on the dangers of criminalizing homelessness. In Oakland, thousands sleep on the streets per night. It is our moral responsibility to provide resources for the most vulnerable, not criminalize them.

“As Co-Chair of the House Poverty Taskforce, I will continue to fight alongside my House colleagues to secure robust investments in homelessness prevention programs, improve access to fair and decent housing for all people no matter their background, and protect my unhoused constituents from cruel rulings like the one that came down today. This is not over.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Lee led Reps. Cori Bush, Jim McGovern, and Bobby Scott in a letter calling on the president to increase funding for homeless services, substance abuse treatment and “community-driven alternatives”; free up more federal funding to house homeless people by altering restrictions on federal funding; and track federal law enforcement interactions with unhoused people.