Skip to Content

Press Releases

Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Statement Ahead of Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Grants Pass v. Johnson Homelessness Case

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement ahead of Supreme Court oral arguments in the case of City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Gloria Johnson to determine whether local government policies that ban sleeping or “camping” in public spaces without alternative shelter violate Constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

“Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the most consequential case on homelessness in decades and it is not lost on me that this comes during National Fair Housing Month. As of 2023, a record 653,100 people are experiencing homelessness. With more and more families struggling to make ends meet, the risk of homelessness is a reality for millions of Americans. In fact, last year we saw a 25 percent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time in their lives.

“Let me be clear, homelessness is a housing problem and criminalizing the homeless won’t end homelessness. The only solution that will help us effectively end homelessness is investing in the development of affordable housing for the lowest income families, paired with supportive services to help stabilize individuals. Federal, state, and local government must work together to advance cost-effective, humane solutions to end cruel cycles of poverty and homelessness.

“That’s why last year I reintroduced my legislative housing package, including the ‘Housing Crisis Response Act,’ the ‘Ending Homelessness Act,’ and the ‘Downpayment Toward Equity Act.’ Together, these bills represent the single largest and most comprehensive investment in fair and affordable housing in U.S. history. Not only will these investments help finally put an end to this crisis, but they will also help businesses, communities, and our economy thrive.

“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to help define our nation’s approach to homelessness and civil liberties for generations to come. America needs long-term housing solutions, not cruelty and punishment.”


Back to top