VOA-GNY’s Response to the Grants Pass v. Johnson Supreme Court Ruling

Volunteers of America-Greater New York (VOA-GNY) condemns in the strongest possible terms June 28th’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of laws that criminalize sleeping in public spaces even when there is a lack of shelter.

Policies that criminalize poverty and homelessness do nothing to prevent poverty or homelessness. Instead, they make it even harder for individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty by negatively impacting their freedom, mental and physical health, and ability to work and find housing.

Housing is a human right. VOA-GNY is proud to be a provider of both temporary and affordable housing in New York City, where people have a right to shelter. In our 128 years working with individuals and families in need, we’ve seen the life-changing, life-saving impact of access to safe shelter and affordable housing.

More than half of Americans are just one missed paycheck from homelessness. This looming crisis is especially dire in areas like New York, where the cost of living is skyrocketing, the cost of housing is increasing more rapidly than inflation, and the housing vacancy rate is just 1.4 percent.

This ruling serves as a wake-up call for New York, which must fulfill its commitments to building affordable housing and aggressively defend its right to shelter. It is our moral obligation—and VOA-GNY’s mission—to continue to provide support to those in our communities who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.

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