The Supreme Court prepares to hear Grants Pass vs Johnson, a case challenging ordinances penalizing homelessness. Originating from neighboring Grants Pass, Oregon, these laws face constitutional scrutiny for targeting unavoidable behaviors associated with homelessness such as sleeping in public spaces.

Legal Arguments:

Plaintiffs argue the ordinances breach the Eighth Amendment constituting “cruel and unusual punishment,” citing precedents against penalizing homeless individuals for unavoidable actions. Defendants, including local governments, assert the ordinances are vital for public safety.

Perspective: From Warming Center to Champion:

As a former manager of a warming center for the homeless in Grants Pass, I’ve witnessed first-hand the struggles of 260 homeless individuals. I look forward to sharing some of their stories in upcoming articles.


Grants Pass vs Johnson’s outcome holds nationwide significance, questioning the balance between civil liberties and public safety. A plaintiff-favored ruling could lead to increased homeless rights protection, more sheltering options, and support services that actually reduce homelessness.

Public Interest:

The case has ignited public discussion on homelessness, poverty, and civil rights, stressing the need for effective and compassionate solutions.


As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments, our nation faces a pivotal moment in addressing homelessness and safeguarding civil liberties. The decision in Grants Pass vs Johnson will define our commitment to justice, equality, and compassion for our most vulnerable neighbors who have fallen into the well of homelessness and are unable to get out with our help. 

In the next article, you’ll meet George, an amazing person who, like so many, wants to work, to get an apartment and even to access social services. Sadly, all of these “next steps to self-sufficiency” are denied simply because of the criminalization of homelessness in Grants Pass. In future articles, you’ll also learn the secret that helped him, the “hand up” he needed, to get out of the well and off the streets!


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