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

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.

  • Thank you. I am posting this on FB. Very sad day.

  • Sr. Margaret Bischoff June 28, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    prevention ox surely good. but there are still hundreds of thousands already living Ng on the streets. we must still find ways to help these folks with addiction and mental health treatment as we facilitate their re- housing into respectable housing.

  • AmenJ

  • Steve Sisa District Council, Diocese of Colorado Springs June 29, 2024 at 12:07 pm

    I largely agree with your well stated letter, though I differ in the characterization of the Supreme Court’s decision as “tragic”. I have read in toto the majority and the dissenting opinions and I recommend that exercise to all Servant Leaders. Both sides are compelling reads: the majority on the very clear constitutional merits of the Court’s decision, the other on the humanitarian challenges faced. The important aspect is, as you state, the case has shed strong light on an extremely difficult problem. I do believe that local governments need reasonable enforcement latitude that protects the welfare of all it’s citizens and higher levels of government have an obligation to elevate in priority the funding of suitable facilities that accommodate the homeless willing to take advantage of them. Yes, “Our work continues” since the poor and the homeless will always be in our midst.

  • Your letter is misleading and not true. You left out the ruling pertains to public property. Defending living on sidewalks or in public parks amidst unsanitary conditions of filth and defacation is not supporting the homeless or the residents of neighborhoods in which these conditions occur. I am the president of a conference in Huntington Beach, CA. We spend $15k to $20k per month serving the homeless and those facing eviction. A coalition of churches , charities, and the city address the problem by not allowing people to sleep in parks or on the street but assisting them with food, counseling, addiction treatment, and rental and utility assistance.. Forcing them off the streets is the solution not the problem.

    • Completely agree with you, Wayne. the letter from SVDP society is misleading and short-sighted. How is encouraging homeless encampments set in filth and squalor in public places Christian?

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