Federal News, Homelessness, Reports and Publications

U.S. Dept of Justice Opposes Criminalization of Homelessness

U.S. Department of Justice

On August 6, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a statement of interest in federal court district in Idaho, responding to the case Bell v. City of Boise et al., where homeless plaintiffs were convicted under the City of Boise ordinances that made it illegal to sleep or camp in public.

The DOJ argues that criminalizing people experiencing homelessness for sleeping in public places when there is inadequate shelter space available is unconstitutional. In fact, “[i]t should be uncontroversial that punishing conduct that is a universal and unavoidable consequence of being human violates the Eighth Amendment. . .Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity—i.e., it must occur at some time in some place.  If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

In conjunction to the DOJ brief, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released a report, Ending Homelessness for People Living in Encampments,  to assist communities working to develop strategies that address the needs of individuals who are unsheltered. Click here to learn more about that report. 

Click here to read the DOJ statement of interest. 

Click here to read the USICH Ending Homelessness for People Living in Encampments report.


Filter News By