The Raikes Foundation Responds To Supreme Court Decision Upholding Criminalization Of Homelessness

SEATTLE, WA – Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson, ruling that cities are permitted to penalize individuals for living unsheltered in public places even where no other options exist. Raikes Foundation Co-Founders Tricia and Jeff Raikes issued the following statement in response:

“Criminalization is not the answer to our homelessness crisis. This decision will harm all individuals experiencing homelessness – especially the 4.2 million youth and young adults who experience it each year – by allowing the counterproductive penalization of homelessness.

None of us should grow accustomed to our neighbors living unsheltered. We understand the feelings of frustration and concern that can lead community members and elected officials alike to turn to responses centered on criminalization. But criminalization only exacerbates the problem in the long term by increasing barriers to stable housing, employment, and access to services. This is especially true for young people, a population too often pushed into the shadows because of their social and economic realities.

Criminalization was the preferred response to homelessness for decades and it has never worked. But we don’t just have to imagine an alternative response—there are proven solutions at work in Washington State right now to reduce youth and young adult homelessness. Without resorting to criminalization, between 2016 and 2022 the number of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in the state fell by 40 percent. That progress came from coordination with schools, state agencies, organizations, and youth themselves to address the root causes, not the symptoms of this crisis.

The Raikes Foundation remains steadfast in our commitment to preventing and addressing the crisis of youth homelessness and building a future where all young people have a safe, welcoming place to call home.”

About the Raikes Foundation

At the Raikes Foundation, we believe that when we work together and center the voices of young people, we can build a fair society for all. Our goal is to bring people together to break down barriers that prevent communities from thriving and to support solutions that allow all of us to determine a fair and just future for America. We make grants in four core areas: education, housing stability for youth, racial equity and democracy, and impact-driven philanthropy. Through our grants, we seek to redefine financial impact, support individuals, and promote community agency and solutions to build a more just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to achieve their full potential. To learn more about our work, visit

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