Our Position on the Grants Pass Supreme Court Decision: 
It’s a Heartless Response to a Complex Issue

homeless-woman

In a decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28th, unhoused people can now be arrested or fined for sleeping in public areas. In City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, the court overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which had held that it was unconstitutional to subject people experiencing homelessness to criminal and civil penalties for sleeping in public spaces. 

The Grants Pass decision does nothing to solve the problem of homelessness. Homelessness is a complex issue, made even more challenging by the housing affordability crisis in New Hampshire and elsewhere. We should be looking for solutions that lift people up rather than hold them down. This would benefit both the individual and our communities.  

Some people advocate building more emergency shelters and affordable housing, so individuals removed from public parks and streets have a place to go. While these initiatives are needed, they will take time to implement and only address the outcome of homelessness rather than the cause. Supportive services and prevention programs need to be part of the solution as well. At Waypoint, we have helped young people experiencing homelessness by taking a deeper approach focused on providing stabilizing preventive services so that homelessness is rare; offering easily accessible emergency and intervention resources so homelessness is brief; and creating enough support to avoid relapse so homelessness does not recur. 

We are piloting a youth homeless prevention program in Manchester that provides resources and support to youth and families before they are unhoused. We have also found that rapid rehousing paired with supportive services is an effective way to both get and keep young adults off the streets. Despite New Hampshire’s tight rental market, Waypoint has had great success working with local landlords to provide housing for young people ages 18 through 24. Local landlords provide rental housing for up to 24 months with rental support from Waypoint while the young adults participate in supportive counseling and skills development to become self-sufficient tenants. 

The Supreme Court’s Grant Pass decision created a conundrum: Unhoused people can’t sleep outside in public spaces, but what if there is nowhere else to go?  Criminalization and citations may remove homeless encampments, but at what cost?  

Incarceration is a massive drain on taxpayer dollars with long term impacts and will make it even harder for our unhoused citizens to build a brighter future.  

Early interventions and creative housing programs paired with support services provide long-term solutions, as well as being more humane and cost-effective. Effective programs take time. As we develop solutions, criminalizing homelessness is not the answer.  

More Info

Regional Offices

Waypoint has several regional offices throughout New Hampshire. Below are the locations of these offices. If you are looking for specific program contact information, please visit the Programs Overview page or the Get Help page.

Agency Headquarters

Manchester
464 Chestnut St.
Manchester, NH 03105
603.518.4000 | 1.800.640.6486
Fax: 603.668.6260
P.O. Box 448

Concord
103 No. State St.
Concord, NH 03301
603.224.7479

Lakes Region
67 Water Street Suite 207
Laconia, NH 03246
603.524.5835

North Country
25 Main St.
Lancaster, NH 03584
603.788.4172
P.O. Box 188 Conway, NH 03818

Tri-City Region
3 Wallace St.
Rochester, NH 03866
800.640.6486

Monadnock
20 Central Sq., Suite #210
Keene, NH 03431
603.357.8772 

Dover
35 Third St.
Dover, NH 03820
603.742.5662

Nashua
60 Main Street Suite 240
Nashua, NH 03060
603.889.7189

Seacoast
11 Sandy Point Rd.
Stratham, NH 03885
603.518.4002
Fax: 603.668.6260

Upper Valley
63 Hanover St.
Lebanon, NH 03766
603.298.8237

The Children’s Place & Parent Education Center
27 Burns Ave. 
Concord, NH 03302
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