Man setting up tent in street in front of police officers

A ‘Generation-Altering Moment’ in the Homelessness Crisis

Marques Vestal, assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA Luskin, spoke to Capital B about an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine whether people experiencing homelessness can be issued jail time, tickets and fines for sleeping on the streets, even if there are no shelter alternatives available to them. If the court decides to uphold laws that target the unhoused, “it will be a generation-altering moment in urban history where cities are going to be able to enforce constitutional removal and displacement,” said Vestal, whose research includes the underlying causes of Black homelessness in Los Angeles. “We’re supposed to put people from encampments into either temporary or permanent housing. Instead, we’ll lose most of those people,” he said. “This will lead to a new regime of debt, and for Black folks, debt is always some kind of leverage for some other burying harm.”


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