In response to the growing homelessness problem, many state and local governments have developed anti-camping ordinances that criminalize the act of sleeping on public property. Anti-camping laws can devastate individuals experiencing homelessness, especially when alternative resources, such as shelters, are not easily accessible. This Comment addresses the extent to which municipalities may enforce anti-camping ordinances against individuals experiencing homelessness who have no alternative to sleeping in public without violating the Eighth Amendment. As municipal regulation and judicial interpretation narrow the scope of permissible use of publicly owned areas, this raises the question of to what extent, and to whom, public space is actually accessible. To best safeguard public spaces, protect individuals experiencing homelessness, and avoid the risks that a narrow interpretation may create, this Comment argues that courts should interpret Ninth Circuit precedent surrounding homelessness broadly and take into account individual complexities on a case-by-case basis.
Oppenheimer, Peer Marie
"The Illusion of Public Space: Enforcement of Anti-Camping Ordinances Against Individuals Experiencing Homelessness,"
University of Chicago Legal Forum: Vol. 2023, Article 18.
Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/uclf/vol2023/iss1/18