Supreme Court Upholds Ruling That Allows Homeless to Sleep in Public Places

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of the 9th Circuit ruling that barred Boise, Idaho from ticketing people who sleep on the streets. Monday’s decision lets stand a major ruling that protects the right to sleep in public if adequate shelter is not available.

Monday’s decision will greatly impact local governments’ handling of homelessness. It is especially significant for cities and counties in California, which has the highest number of unsheltered homeless in the nation. More than two dozen California governments had asked the Supreme Court to review the 9th Circuit's decision.

Officials in Los Angeles expressed disappointment Monday.

“Letting the current law stand handicaps cities and counties from acting nimbly to aid those perishing on the streets, exacerbating unsafe and unhealthy conditions that negatively affect our most vulnerable residents,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to keep the focus on providing housing.

The Supreme Court’s decision came without comment or dissent. Four justices are needed to prompt a Supreme Court review.

Further reading:

Supreme Court leaves cities with one option on homelessness: More housing