Bay Area Council Hails U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Grants Pass Case

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Council submitted amicus brief urging the high court to overturn lower court ruling that restrained cities in their efforts to address homelessness

The Bay Area Council today hailed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Grants Pass v Johnson, overturning a lower court decision that has restrained local governments from taking action to get unhoused residents out of unsafe encampments and other outdoor living situations that unfairly block access to public spaces. With legal assistance from Hanson Bridgett, the Council submitted an amicus brief calling on the high court to overturn Grants Pass.

“This ruling removes the shackles that have held back efforts to humanely get our unhoused residents the shelter and help they need and will enable us to restore order to our streets, sidewalks and public spaces,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Some people will say this ruling will criminalize homelessness and nothing could be further from the truth. Local government needs every tool it can muster to address the complexity and scale of our homeless problem. Living on the streets is a death sentence for many and undermines the quality of life in communities and neighborhoods. The Council was proud to submit an amicus brief urging this outcome and we applaud the Supreme Court for its wisdom.”

The Council has been a strong advocate for creating the different types of shelter and housing needed to address the homelessness crisis. Currently, the Council is sponsoring legislation (SB 1395, Becker) to accelerate the construction of interim housing, which can be built faster and at much less cost than other traditional housing and shelter methods while also providing services that many unhoused residents need to get their lives on track. The Council is also sponsoring legislation (AB 2893, Ward/Haney) that would expand access to sober living facilities for unhoused residents battling to overcome alcohol and substance abuse problems.

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