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Pima County attorney calls SCOTUS ruling on homelessness 'unacceptable'

Recent ruling allows cities to ticket those sleeping in public
Posted at 11:16 PM, Jul 02, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The recent Supreme Court ruling allowing cities to ban people from sleeping outside has prompted questions about legal actions to address homelessness. Officials in Pima County, however, plan to continue their current efforts to tackle the ongoing issue.

Pima County Attorney Laura Conover was emphatic in her address to the media Tuesday afternoon, calling the Supreme Court decision "unacceptable."

“First of all, it’s false to suggest that we can arrest our way out of the problem of homelessness,” Conover said.

Her comments came just days after the nation’s highest court made the ruling on June 28.

“It’s also completely unfunded,” Conover added.

Conover emphasized that her office will continue to hold people accountable where there is evidence of a crime like assault or damage to property.

“As a community, we cannot dehumanize people,” she said.

“Being unhoused is not a crime," said Pima County District 5 Chair Adelita Grijalva who also addressed the media.

She stated that the county will maintain its longstanding policy of providing assistance and resources to those facing homelessness while emphasizing the lack of resources to enforce such a ruling.

“There is no capacity anywhere in our nation where we can fill our legal system with people being arrested because they’re sleeping outside."

Brian Flagg with the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, and someone who works with homeless people often, believes part of the problem lies with lobbyists and the lack of rent control.

“Rent control is illegal here in Arizona,” Flagg said. “That and the fact that they won’t build housing that’s going to affect the situation out of all these homeless people.”

Kenny Darr is a reporter for KGUN 9. He joined the team in January 2023. Before arriving in Arizona he was an Anchor and Reporter at KADN in Lafayette, LA. Share your story ideas with Kenny by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.