Stand Together: Your Voice Matters in the Fight for the Rights of People Experiencing Homelessness

A Call to Unity in Johnson v. Grants Pass

In the face of ongoing challenges, the resilience of our community—particularly those with lived experience of homelessness—continues to inspire and drive change. One such pivotal moment of change is upon us, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that could significantly impact the rights of homeless individuals across the nation: Johnson v. Grants Pass.

This landmark case centers on the rights of homeless individuals in Grants Pass, Oregon, challenging ordinances that penalize life-sustaining activities in public spaces. At its heart, Johnson v. Grants Pass isn’t just about one town; it’s a reflection of the broader struggle for dignity, respect, and the right to exist in public spaces without fear of harassment or punishment.

The Issue at Hand

For too long, our brothers and sisters without homes have faced legal and societal barriers that criminalize their existence. Sleeping, eating, and performing other necessary life activities in public spaces—their last resort—are met with penalties rather than support. Johnson v. Grants Pass brings these injustices to the forefront, challenging us all to reconsider how we treat the most vulnerable among us.

Your Voice is Your Power

This case is a rallying cry for all who believe in justice and human rights. It’s a reminder that together, we can challenge the status quo and advocate for policies that uplift rather than oppress. Your voice is critical in this fight.

Call to Action

Your involvement signifies more than just your support; it embodies hope, unity, and the unwavering belief that change is possible. Let’s stand together for justice, for dignity, and for the rights of all individuals to live freely and without fear.

Here’s how you can stand in solidarity:

  1. Sign the Petition: Add your name to the growing list of individuals calling for an end to the criminalization of homelessness. Each signature sends a strong message to policymakers about the public’s demand for compassionate and humane treatment of all individuals, regardless of their housing status.
  2. Join us for the Housing Not Handcuffs Rally on April 22, 2024, at the Supreme Court: Mark your calendars and make your presence felt. This rally isn’t just about making noise; it’s about showing the strength of our community and the depth of our commitment to change.
  3. Join with communities across the country in holding coordinated actions on April 22nd! Click here to let us know about your local event, or to learn more about what might be happening in your community. Check out our Organizing Skill Share guide for action inspiration and guidance. 

We know that laws are passed and enforced locally. Your City Council, Mayor, and police are the ones implementing anti-homeless policies (such as sweeps) now. So, local actions are really important, in addition to actions in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A small group of people can have a BIG impact! Together, we can demonstrate the collective power of individuals united for a common cause.

The Journey Ahead

The path to justice is long and fraught with challenges, but it’s a journey worth taking. Johnson v. Grants Pass is more than a legal battle; it’s a moral one. It’s about affirming the right of every individual to live with dignity and without fear. As we stand on the brink of this historic moment, let’s come together to support those who have been marginalized and to show that humanity and compassion can prevail over indifference and injustice.

Together, We Can Make a Difference

To learn more about Johnson v. Grants Pass and stay informed on the latest developments, here are several avenues you can explore:

  • Official Johnson v Grants Pass Case site
  • NCH info on Criminalization
  • National Homelessness Law Center and the Housing Not Handcuffs Campaign
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Supreme Court’s Official Website: The United States Supreme Court’s official website offers access to court documents, including briefs, oral arguments, and opinions related to the case. This is a primary source for accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Congressional leaders have unveiled the FY24 THUD spending bill, earmarking significant funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs focused on affordable housing and homelessness. The bill allocates $70 billion to HUD, marking an $8.3 billion increase from the FY23 levels. This funding boost is seen as a major achievement for the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)’s national HoUSed campaign, advocates nationwide, and congressional supporters such as Senators Brian Schatz and Cindy Hyde-Smith, along with Representatives Tom Cole and Mike Quigley.

Key Highlights of the FY24 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Spending Bill (excerpted from the National Low Income Housing Coalition – Full link

Noteworthy Funding Details:

– The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program receives a substantial increase, funded at $32.4 billion, allowing for the renewal of all existing rental assistance contracts and expanding assistance to 3,000 additional households.

– Homeless Assistance Grants see a $418 million increase, totaling $4.05 billion.

– The Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds receive modest increases, with the Capital Fund at $3.41 billion and the Operating Fund at $5.5 billion.

– The Native American Housing Block Grant is boosted by $324 million, reaching $1.1 billion.

– Despite some programs facing cuts, such as the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Choice Neighborhoods, significant resources are allocated across various housing and homelessness initiatives.


Analysis of Specific Programs:

– Tenant-Based Rental Assistance is set at $32.4 billion, aiming to renew all existing contracts and expand support.

– Public Housing funding includes slight increases for capital and operating funds, with a total of $3.4 billion for the capital account.

– The bill also emphasizes homelessness programs, allocating $4.05 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, indicating a focused effort to address the homelessness crisis.

Overall Impact:

The FY24 spending bill represents a significant step towards addressing affordable housing and homelessness challenges in the U.S. While it marks progress, NLIHC and its allies continue to advocate for sustained and comprehensive investment in housing assistance to meet the growing needs of Americans facing housing insecurity.

NLIHC Budget Chart FY2024


Written by: NCH Policy Lead, Michele Williams ; Edited by Kenia Mazariegos

Photo by Lara Jameson

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