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'Housing, not handcuffs': Advocates seek solutions for homelessness beyond fines and arrests

A pedestrian walks past an encampment of tents after crossing Hoyt Street in Portland, Oregon on Jan. 24, 2024. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
A pedestrian walks past an encampment of tents after crossing Hoyt Street in Portland, Oregon on Jan. 24, 2024. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court is hearing a case Monday that could have major implications for how cities and local jurisdictions deal with homelessness.

The town of Grants Pass, Oregon, has been arresting and fining people for sleeping in public parks. But a federal appeals court ruled that was “cruel and unusual punishment” if unhoused persons had nowhere else to go.

We speak with Patty Mulvihill, executive director of the League of Oregon Cities, which is arguing that an appeals court ruling “limits the punishment the government may impose.”

The National Low Income Housing Coalition crunched data and found that in Grant Pass, Oregon, for every 10 low-income families, there are just two affordable and available apartments. The nonprofit joined an amicus brief in the SCOTUS case saying punishing people for sleeping outside does nothing to solve unsheltered homelessness.

Here & Now’s Celeste Headlee speaks with Diane Yentel, president and CEO of The National Low Income Housing Coalition.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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