The Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban The Homeless From Sleeping in Public Places: How Will Atlanta Respond?

June 29, 2024
1 min read

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens reaffirmed the city’s commitment to housing-first solutions for homelessness following a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing cities to criminalize sleeping in public spaces.

🏠 Why It Matters: The mayor’s stance prioritizes compassionate approaches to homelessness over punitive measures, potentially impacting thousands of Atlanta residents experiencing housing insecurity.

🔍 Between the Lines:

  • Dickens’ statement, “Falling on hard times is not a crime,” directly challenges the implications of the Supreme Court ruling.
  • The mayor’s focus on successful relocation efforts and housing initiatives suggests a continued emphasis on long-term solutions rather than short-term enforcement.

📊 Catch Up Quick: The Supreme Court’s decision in Grants Pass v. Johnson allows cities to enforce laws prohibiting sleeping on public property, even when shelter space is unavailable.

🔮 The Big Picture: Atlanta’s approach under Dickens’ administration includes:

  • Humanely relocating hundreds from encampments
  • Investing in housing initiatives like The Melody and Ralph David House
  • Prioritizing resources for safe and secure housing options

💬 The Statement: Here is what the mayor had to say.

“Our Administration has been focused on housing solutions for people experiencing homelessness since day one. Falling on hard times is not a crime. Since taking office we’ve humanely relocated hundreds of individuals from encampments throughout the city. Those folks are now working their way back to self-sufficiency. We have shown that resources are better spent on initiatives like The Melody and the Ralph David House to provide families a safe and secure place to call home—and that is exactly what our Administration will continue to do.”

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