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You are here News Domestic (USA) ‘Where are they supposed to sleep?’: US supreme court appears divided on key homelessness case

‘Where are they supposed to sleep?’: US supreme court appears divided on key homelessness case

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Where are they supposed to sleep?

The debate over how US cities can respond to America’s spiraling homelessness crisis reached the supreme court this week, as justices heard arguments over the constitutionality of local laws used against unhoused people sleeping outside.

The justices on Monday considered a challenge to rulings from a California-based appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The case stems from a 2019 camping ban enacted by city officials in Grants Pass, a small mountain town in Oregon where rents are rising and where there is just one overnight shelter for adults. Debra Blake, who had lost her job a decade earlier and was unhoused, was cited for illegal camping. After being convicted and fined, she soon joined other unhoused residents in suing the city.

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