THE U.S. SUPREME Court overturned a lower court ruling that found Grants Pass, Oregon’s ban on outdoor sleeping on public lands violated the constitution’s
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. AAHOA expressed concerns over the ruling in the case that could push the homeless population into hotels.

Previously, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court held that enforcing city ordinances banning outdoor sleeping did violate the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual
Punishments Clause “whenever the number of homeless individuals in a jurisdiction exceeds the number of ‘practically available’ shelter beds,” according to the
Supreme Court ruling. This led to several lawsuits against cities filed by homeless advocates, including one against Grants Pass that led a district court to
file an injunction prohibiting the city from enforcing the ordinance.

The Supreme Court overturned the district court’s holding, saying the city’s punishments for violations, including fines in first offenses and imprisonment for
multiple violations, did not meet the Eighth Amendment’s definitions of cruel and unusual. That ruling has an immediate impact on cities and counties in
Oregon and other Western states, according to Oregon media.