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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

WA advocates say SCOTUS is punishing homelessness

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024   

Advocates for affordable housing are still grappling with a U.S. Supreme Court decision they say could criminalize homelessness. Justices voted 6-3 in favor of Grants Pass, Ore., which passed an ordinance allowing fines for people sleeping in public, even if they have nowhere else to go.

Rachael Myers, executive director of the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance, said the decision comes as many people in Washington state struggle to stay housed.

"The affordable housing crisis that we're experiencing right now is part of what makes this decision so painful. We're saying that it's okay to punish people for not having a place to live, when at the same time, the cost of housing is so astronomical," she said.

Critics of the decision say it opens the doors to cities implementing their own policies to punish people for sleeping outdoors. Supporters of Grants Pass say cities have had few options for responding to homelessness.

In ruling the anti-camping ban did not violate the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the high court should not "dictate this nation's homelessness policy."

Myers noted Washingtonians needed to make more than $36 per hour at a full time job in 2023 to afford to rent the average two-bedroom apartment.

"It's especially a slap in the face when housing costs are so out of control, and when we know what to do about it. We know that providing people with housing and services is what is going to actually reduce homelessness and addressing the individuals' homelessness. Fines and tickets and arrests won't do that," she explained.

Myers added enforcing bans on sleeping outdoors could also divert resources.

"It costs a lot of money to incarcerate people, and we could be devoting any resources that go into arresting people or fining and ticketing people - we could be putting those resources into housing, into services, into shelter," she continued.

Myers said Washington state lawmakers could look at this issue and potentially take anti-camping bans off the table during their next legislative session.


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