We want to applaud the Human Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for standing up against ordinances that criminalize homelessness. Attorney’s for the Justice Department argued that homeless persons sleeping outside are having their 8th Amendment rights violated by ordinances against them.
“Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless,” the filing stated.
“Criminally prosecuting those individuals for something as innocent as sleeping, when they have no safe, legal place to go, violates their constitutional rights,” Vanita Gupta, the head of the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice, said in a statement.
To read the entire court document click here.
To learn more the criminalization of food sharing and public sleeping from the National Coalition for the Homeless click here.