Supreme Court homelessness ruling could help defeat crisis

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The U.S. Supreme Court just took the first step toward a rational approach to the problem of homelessness by overturning a Ninth Circuit ruling that prohibited cities from enforcing their laws against camping in public parks and on sidewalks.  

That decision, called Johnson v. Grants Pass, declared that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment” clause to arrest people for sleeping on public property, unless the government had sufficient space in its own homeless shelters to house them.  

This across-the-board numerical formula effectively barred — or was at least interpreted to bar — cities from taking steps to help the homeless, and many cities, including Phoenix, saw the decision as a convenient excuse to refuse to do their jobs. The result was a massive spike in homelessness, particularly in

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