Thresholds Fights for Rights of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in Landmark Supreme Court Case

Johnson v. Grants PassThresholds has joined forces with 26 other statewide partners in filing an amicus brief in the landmark case of Johnson v. Grants Pass. The case, scheduled for oral arguments on April 22, 2024, is the first Supreme Court case in decades to hear a case related to homelessness.

Originating from Grants Pass, Oregon, the case centers on the question of whether cities have the right to penalize individuals for sleeping outdoors, even when they have no alternative shelter. At stake is the interpretation of constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment, with profound implications for the rights and dignity of homeless individuals nationwide.

With over 68,000 people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, Thresholds remains dedicated to addressing housing insecurity. Through essential programs like the Housing & Residential Program and Homeless Outreach, our staff provides critical support citywide, working towards a future where everyone receives the assistance they need to live an independent, fulfilling life.

By lending our support to this critical legal effort, Thresholds hopes to highlight the importance of addressing homelessness through compassionate and constructive means.

“This case is not just about the law; it’s about fundamental human rights and dignity,” said Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds. “As an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with mental illnesses, we recognize the intersectionality of homelessness and mental health. Everyone deserves access to safe and supportive housing. By standing alongside our partners in this amicus brief, we’re standing for individuals across America.”

The amicus brief, assembled by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and supported by a coalition of legal and advocacy organizations, emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address the root causes of homelessness. It argues against the criminalization of homelessness, highlighting the adverse effects of punitive measures on individuals already facing immense challenges.

While Thresholds is based in Illinois, the outcome of Johnson v. Grants Pass will directly impact the quarter of a million people experiencing homelessness nationwide. As the Supreme Court prepares to deliberate on this critical issue, Thresholds remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for policies that promote home, health and hope.

“We are honored to join the fight for justice in the Johnson v. Grants Pass case,” Ishaug shared. “As we stand united with our partners, we reaffirm our mission to ensure that every individual, regardless of their housing status, is treated with dignity and respect. Together we can continue to work towards a society where homelessness is met with compassion and understanding, not punishment.”

Read the amicus brief here.


Contact: Emily Moen, Chief Communications Officer,  773-572-5172



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