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Can people be punished for not having a home?

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — As the value of housing goes up, so does the variety of people residing on the streets.

According to HUD, as of 2023 there have been over 650,000 people experiencing homelessness.

But relying on a pending Supreme Court ruling, those self same people might be punished for having nowhere else to go.

Supreme Court to hear case on criminalizing homelessness

It all stems from Grant Pass, Oregon handing people $295 fines for sleeping exterior.

The metropolis argued that they wish to be sure that public areas can be found and protected for everybody.

Local advocates, like Sarah Johnson with ForChildren, informed 10 On Your Side that may solely make the homelessness disaster a lot worse.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that’s not really a solution,” Johnson mentioned. “That would exacerbate the problem that folks are facing when there’s not shelter resources available and would potentially create additional barriers for them to get housed in the future.”

Johnson mentioned that residing on the streets is already a traumatizing expertise, saying it might be detrimental if a household was punished merely for struggling.

“ForKids specifically, we work with families, with children,” Johnson mentioned. “So, you can only imagine the trauma and just, fear, and everything that’s going on with a family that is really doing everything they can — might even be working.”

She informed 10 On Your Side that the group receives greater than 60,000 calls for housing assist yearly, saying it’s not a downside of people being complacent with their scenario. Rather, it’s a difficulty of discovering someplace they’ll live.

“The current affordable housing crisis means that lots of folks cannot find a place,” she mentioned.

Johnson mentioned on the finish of the day, this disaster can’t be fastened in a single day, however there are methods to work towards a answer.

“It’s not housing only,” she mentioned, “and so that means that folks need services, they need mental health support, they need case management, they need all those services to help them stabilize and stay where they’re at.”

She additionally mentioned the group will help ease the homelessness disaster by donating to organizations like ForChildren, or not opposing an reasonably priced housing mission close to their neighborhood.

The Supreme Court is projected to have a determination by the tip of June.

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