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Some cities facing homelessness crisis applaud Supreme Court decision, while others push back

SEATTLE (AP) — A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing cities to enforce bans on sleeping outside in public spaces will allow San Francisco to begin clearing homeless encampments that have plagued the city, the mayor said Friday as she applauded the ruling.

The case is the most significant on the issue to come before the high court in decades and comes as cities across the country have wrestled with the politically complicated issue of how to deal with a rising number of people without a permanent place to live and public frustration over related health and safety issues.

“We will continue to lead with services, but we also can’t continue to allow people to do what they want on the streets of San Francisco, especially when we have a place for them to go,” San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, a Democrat, said in the wake of the 6-3 ruling.

Breed said she will review the ruling with the City Attorney’s Office before implementing any new policies, and the city will provide training to those clearing camps.

But the ruling was not welcomed everywhere and some cities, such as Seattle, said their approach to encampments will not change. A spokesperson for the Portland, Oregon, mayor’s office said it was prevented by a state law from making major changes based on the court decision.

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