grant’s pass

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Statement on Supreme Court Decision in Grant’s Pass Vs. Gloria Johnson

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Statement on Supreme Court Decision in Grant’s Pass Vs. Gloria Johnson 552 552 SVDP USA

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul expresses concern regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson. By ruling in favor of the plaintiff, the Supreme Court has signaled that local governments can make it a crime for someone to live outside and unsheltered if they have no home.

“Reasonable people may and will disagree about this decision, but the fact of the matter is it doesn’t get to the heart of the homelessness crisis,” said John Berry, National President at Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “Neither stricter nor more lenient criminal laws sufficiently address the problem — which has vastly more to do with skyrocketing housing costs and inflation than it has to do with how local governments regulate homeless encampments.”

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul currently maintains a network for homeless prevention through rent assistance with an outlay of over $60 million. These programs typically involve home visits, personalized resources, engagement with landlords, crafting a “Stability Plan,” and financial assistance in making rent and paying utilities. These programs usually work alongside local governments, putting homelessness prevention ahead of policing in addressing the roots of homelessness.

“These temporary assistance programs work — and produce long-lasting effects while reducing the economic and social strain of homelessness on cities, towns, and counties,” said Berry. “But more than dollars, homelessness prevention programs like ours save lives and dignity. While City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson helps call attention to the severity of our homelessness crisis, we must work together to restore stability and dignity to neighbors living on the edge of homelessness.”

According to a recent study conducted by Notre Dame’s Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO), persons who received an average of $2,000 in emergency financial assistance were “81 percent less likely to become homeless within six months of enrollment and 73 percent less likely within 12 months.” In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul will continue unabated to pursue positive outcomes like these across the country.

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