BREAKING: Legal Battle Over Homeless Rights Intensifies in the US

FILE PHOTO: A homeless camp in McPherson Square is cleared in Washington. Credit | REUTERS

United States: During the recent case hearing, the most salient argument involving immigrants homeless since the turn of the century, the court will present arguments regarding austere life on the street and the violation of the Eighth Amendment, Monday on the ticketing of anyone living on the streets as “cruel and unusual.”

This case is of great concern to city and state authorities, who are grappling with a growing number of homeless people and makeshift encampments under bridges and in city parks across the US.

The enforcement of these new laws has sparked anxiety among those living in the encampments, who feel targeted by efforts to criminalize their situation rather than providing adequate shelter and affordable housing.

“People don’t choose to live out here, trying to survive on their own,” said Cruz, who was relocated to a church where she now resides and helps take care of. “People think parks are for families, no restrictions. But it’s strange because there’s nowhere else to go, you know. There’s no housing.”

The December report noted that between 2022 and 2023, about a 12 percent rise in the total number of people who are going through the menace of homelessness, as per the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Focus on the legality of ordinances

U.S. Supreme Court. Credit | AP Photo

The upcoming court case will also focus on the legality of ordinances that criminalize certain behaviors. It is crucial for these laws to ensure that prohibited conduct is clearly defined and covered by legislation. The Supreme Court ruled in 1962 that charging individuals for behavior that is not explicitly prohibited by law is unconstitutional and cruel.

Mary Ferrell, executive director of the Maslow Project, a nonprofit that works with homeless children in Grants Pass, said, “I can see where the policymakers are coming from. I just think that it’s so broad to say we’re going ticket you for just simply existing,” and, The sense on the ground is that the city just doesn’t want people experiencing homelessness – period.”

The lawyers for Grants Pass told the Supreme Court said, “The solution,” “is not to stretch the Eighth Amendment beyond its limits and place the federal courts in charge of this pressing social problem.”

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