Criminalizing the homeless costs three times more than housing them

Upholding the Right to Housing—A Call for Compassion and Justice

As the Supreme Court deliberates the pivotal case concerning the city of Grants Pass’s regulations on public camping, The Waterfront Project, Inc. (WFP) reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the principle that housing is a fundamental human right, not a privilege. This case, which questions whether it is constitutional to penalize homeless individuals for sleeping in public when no shelter alternatives exist, strikes at the core of our advocacy—housing, not handcuffs.

At WFP, we believe no one deserves to face criminal charges simply for lacking a safe place to sleep. The criminalization of homelessness is not only a legal issue but a moral one, reflecting on how our society values its most vulnerable members. As the courts weigh arguments, it is crucial to remember that laws should protect and uplift, not lead to more displacement and distress.

Yesterday, in a demonstration of solidarity and action, WFP staff members Carmen Esquilin and Nika Deitch participated in a rally in Newark, NJ, echoing the voices of many who demand change and recognition of homeless rights as human rights. This event, part of the broader Housing Not Handcuffs campaign, highlights the urgent need for systemic reform to ensure everyone has access to safe, stable housing.

The outcome of this Supreme Court case will have profound implications. A ruling that recognizes the cruel nature of penalizing the act of sleeping in public without offering alternatives could be a significant step toward ending homelessness. It would reaffirm the belief that effective, compassionate policies can and should replace punitive measures.

As we continue our work, WFP remains dedicated to advocacy, education, and legal representation to combat homelessness and promote dignity for all. We stand with those at the rally and across the nation in our shared vision for a just society where everyone has a place to call home.

For more information about the Housing Not Handcuffs campaign and to join us in this critical cause, please visit Housing Not Handcuffs.

Together, we can build a future where no one is homeless, and everyone’s rights are respected. Let us move forward with hope and determination.

The Waterfront Project, Inc. continues to drive initiatives and support for the community, emphasizing that secure and adequate housing is not just a basic need but a right that must be protected and upheld for all.