Supreme Court Rules the Constitution Does Not Protect Homeless Hoosiers

28 Jun 2024 10:05 AM | Daniel Stroud (Administrator)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In a disappointing ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that arresting or fining homeless individuals for sleeping outside when they have nowhere else to go does not violate the Constitution. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent for the thousands of Hoosiers experiencing homelessness in our state and for all the families who are just one missed paycheck away from homelessness. 

“CHIP is deeply saddened and angered by the Supreme Court ruling that it is ok to arrest or fine people experiencing homelessness for sleeping outside when there is no alternative,” said Dr. Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the Executive Director of CHIP, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention, and a Prosperity Indiana member. “This sets a dangerous precedent and will only worsen homelessness in cities across the country. Homelessness is not a criminal issue and should not be addressed as such. We call on our local and state officials to focus on housing solutions and to not be swayed by this ruling. We must do the smart and right thing here in Indiana for our most vulnerable Hoosiers,” said Haring-Cozzi. 

This decision makes it easier to jail or fine homeless people for sleeping outside, which will exacerbate homelessness. Communities must now work even harder to focus on housing and other proven solutions to homelessness, despite the ruling. It is critical to understand that punitive measures like jails and fines only worsen the situation. 

“The increase of Hoosiers experiencing homelessness is directly correlated with the rising cost to afford rent, which takes $22.07 per hour in 2024, up $3 in just the past year. At the same time, the supply of affordable and available rental housing has declined in Indiana to only 34 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low income households, the second lowest rate in the Midwest,” said Andrew Bradley, Senior Director of Policy and Strategy at Prosperity Indiana. 

“In light of the Supreme Courts’s decision in Johnson v. Grants Pass, it’s clear that Indiana’s state and local policymakers must not respond to the increase in housing cost and the decrease in supply by punishing and criminalizing vulnerable Hoosiers experiencing homelessness. Instead, Indiana’s elected officials must work together to increase the supply of safe, affordable housing, preserve the housing stock we already have, and invest in local practitioners of the proven Housing First model to permanently reduce homelessness,” said Bradley.

Despite this setback, Prosperity Indiana and its members remain committed to supporting all Hoosiers amidst our worsening housing crisis. 


About Prosperity Indiana

The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources, and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana’s network has grown to nearly 200 organizations, representing thousands of practitioners statewide from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Prosperity Indiana
1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 170
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software