A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

U.S. Supreme Court Case on Johnson v Grants Pass Resources

Johnson v. Grants Pass Decision

On June 27, 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States announced their decision on Johnson v. Grants Pass and ruled in favor of jurisdictions seeking to arrest, ticket, or fine people for experiencing homelessness.

Read Funders Together's statement on the Supreme Court's decision. 

Funders Together will continue to share our analysis in weeks to come. We are hosting a funder call on Monday, July 1 to debrief this decision and hear your questions. We are also leading a deeper strategy conversation at our 2024 Funders Institute on July 8-9 in Washington DC about how we apply lessons learned to future housing justice work. Please join us in DC on July 8-9 to be in strategic partnership with Funders Together members and partners.  

Johnson v. Grants Pass Overview

On January 12th, 2024, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that they would hear the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass, with oral arguments taking place April 22, 2024. This sets the stage for the most significant Supreme Court case about the rights of homeless people in decades. At its corethis case will decide whether cities are allowed to punish people for things like sleeping outside with a pillow or blanket, even when there are no safe shelter options.

According to our partners at the National Homelessness Law Center, this case, which was originally filed in 2018, "determined it is cruel and unusual punishment to arrest or ticket people for sleeping outside when they have no other safe place to go." It currently prohibits government at all levels from fining, arresting, and punishing people experiencing homelessness for sleeping outside when there is no other safe option for them.

If the SCOTUS does not rule in favor of upholding the current precedent, local and state governments will legally be able to criminalize people experiencing homelessness who are trying to meet their basic needs. Across the country, cities and states do not have enough affordable housing units to meet a growing demand - a problem that cannot be solved by criminalizing poverty and people without homes.

To be clear: Regardless of how the SCOTUS rules on this case, it will have critical impacts on our collective efforts to advance housing and racial justice. The question at hand is whether the Supreme Court will affirm protecting the rights and humanity of all people regardless of housing status or will it give permission for our government to inflict harm on our neighbors experiencing homelessness instead of providing evidence-based solutions to homelessness?

Funders Together is working closely with the National Homelessness Law Center and other partners to understand the full impacts of a SCOTUS decision on this case and how to mobilize stakeholders across the country, including philanthropy.

If you have questions or would like to be connected with our partners at the National Homelessness Law Center, please contact Lauren Bennett, Chief of External Affairs at [email protected].

How Philanthropy Can Engage

Philanthropy has an opportunity and obligation to engage in protecting the rights of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. As local and national partners are working in coalition to implement strategy around the SCOTUS Johnson v Grants Pass case, there are crucial opportunities for engagement from philanthropy as leaders in your communities, such as:

  • Supporting grantee partners in submitting a "friends of the court" brief (or an amicus brief) before oral arguments begin in April and consider submitting your own.
  • Providing the spaciousness to strategize by supporting convening opportunities for partners, people with lived experience, funder peers, and community leaders.
  • Considering flexible rapid response resources for housing justice narrative and messaging work that can be utilize before and after a decision.
  • Exploring how your institution, board, or trustees can utilize influence and connections in new and creative ways.

View the recording from our January 31 funder briefing with the National Homelessness Law Center about the case.

You can read about or watch Amanda Andere's remarks at the Homes Not Handcuffs rally on April 22. You can also view the livestream of the rally in its entirety, thanks to our partners at the National Homelessness Law Center.


Funders Together:

Community Solutions:

Invisible People:

Marshall Project

National Homelessness Law Center:

National Alliance to End Homelessness:


National Coalition for Homeless Veterans:


National Coalition for the Homeless

Urban Institute

Youth Collaboratory

In the News:




Showing 1 reaction

  • Lauren Bennett
    published this page in Funder Resources 2024-02-27 09:15:41 -0500

We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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