U.S. Supreme Court Grants Permission to Crack Down on Homeless Encampments

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cities can enforce bans on homeless people sleeping outdoors, even when there is a lack of adequate shelter space. The ruling has been praised as a necessary step to address public safety and sanitation concerns created by illegal camps on city streets and private property.


Addressing homelessness is a key issue for our industry given its impacts to the business community across the state. CBPA was proud to stand with the Pacific Legal Foundation and file a brief in this case. 


"CBPA and our members engaged in this important case because local governments and property owners alike need to be able to keep public spaces clean, sanitary, and safe for all," stated Matthew Hargrove, President & CEO of California Business Properties Association. "We praise the state and Governor for the resources that have been dedicated to addressing homelessness and mental health, including the significant contributions from Proposition 1 passed in March and programs like Project Homekey." 


In the case of Grants Pass v. Johnson, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of Grants Pass, deciding that an ordinance from the Oregon city that effectively banned homeless residents from camping on public property was constitutional. 


This highly anticipated decision overturns a significant prior ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing cities to disband public encampments. The ruling will provide new tools and help California leaders and law enforcement address homeless encampments, in conjunction with providing housing assistance and mental health support.