Last week, alongside a coalition of our partners, we submitted an amicus brief in the Johnson v. Grants Pass case. This case, from right here in Oregon, will be heard by the US Supreme Court on April 22.

Johnson v. Grants Pass will determine if it’s cruel and unusual punishment to arrest or ticket people for sleeping outside when they have no other safe place to go. This is considered the most significant case about homelessness in 40+ years, as the Supreme Court will rule on whether cities can punish people for trying to survive by sleeping outside.

Punitive measures that criminalize the mere condition of homelessness do not solve the homelessness crisis. They make it worse. As they witness homelessness on a daily basis, the undersigned amici know that offering care and support—not criminalization— is the way to ensure these members of our communities are housed, fed, and healthy.

Our brief outlines three main points: Homelessness is an involuntary condition. The criminalization of homelessness is an excessive punishment, not a solution. Local governments have tools at their disposal other than criminalization.

We know that houseless folks face immense barriers to accessing appropriate food and experience extremely high rates of long-term food insecurity. Access to housing is foundational to a hunger-free Oregon.

Studies show that criminalizing homeless individuals exacerbates underlying causes. Local governments like the City have at their disposal the means to implement or support housing and assistance programs that help battle homelessness at its core.

Take a moment to read the amicus brief, and head to johnsonvgrantspass.com for more information on the case.