Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I address the recent Grants Pass v. Johnson decision. This ruling allows police to arrest individuals experiencing homelessness for sleeping outside, even if they have nowhere else to go. Larkin Street is opposed to any criminalization of homelessness, and months ago, signed onto an amicus brief advocating against this heartless and ineffective approach to addressing the homelessness crisis. We know that arresting people for not having a place to call home only adds to their suffering and does nothing to address the underlying issues.

At Larkin Street, we see firsthand the struggles and resilience of young people without stable housing. Each of their stories is both a testament to the strength of the human spirit, and a stark reminder of our society’s failings. We cannot disregard their circumstances, or buy into the fallacy that punitive measures will solve this crisis. Instead, we need compassion, understanding, and, most importantly, action.

The true solution lies in affordable housing and early intervention. Imagine a world where every young person has a safe place to sleep or where families are not torn apart by the stress of homelessness. This vision is achievable, but only if we commit to addressing the root causes of homelessness instead of penalizing those who need our support the most.

As a leader in this work for over 40 years, Larkin Street firmly believes that by investing in early interventions by providing young people with dignified affordable housing, and comprehensive services tailored to empower them to achieve their educational, professional, and personal goals, we can prevent chronic homelessness before it begins. We must focus on creating opportunities, offering education and job training, and ensuring that mental health services are accessible. These are the foundations upon which we can build a future where everyone has a chance to thrive.

While this ruling is disheartening, the support of our community, united through values of compassion and empowerment, will help us overcome this difficult moment. Together, we have the power to create real and lasting change. Let us continue to advocate for policies that prioritize housing and support over punishment. Let us be the voice for those who are too often unheard.

Thank you for standing with us and believing in a brighter future for all.

 

With gratitude,

Sherilyn Adams
CEO