OPINION: The Grants Pass v. Johnson ruling is just further proof of how much this country hates poor people. 
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Homelessness shouldn’t be a crime, but late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Grants Pass v. Johnson case paved the way for unhoused people to be criminally punished for sleeping out in public. 
The ruling basically says that the Constitution — specifically the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Eighth Amendment — does not protect unhoused people from being fined, ticketed or arrested for sleeping on the streets — even if they have nowhere else to go. 
This is significant because, as the National Alliance to End Homelessness points out, advocates for the unhoused have long used the cruel and unusual punishment clause to prevent the criminalization of homelessness, and this undermines that.  
I live in Los Angeles, a city with a well-documented problem of homelessness
Unhoused people can be seen all over the city, living in large encampments that make it impossible to walk on sidewalks. Downtown L.A., East Hollywood and Venice Beach — all major areas that tourists frequently visit — have become makeshift homeless shelters because the actual shelters in our city are overcrowded and don’t have enough beds to help those in need. 
The problem is so bad that the Biden administration named Los Angeles as one of six places it would target in its ALL INside initiative, which has a goal to “reduce homelessness 25 percent by 2025 and ultimately build a country where every person has a safe and affordable home.”
That’s a lofty goal considering no one wants to see low-income housing built in their neighborhoods — especially in Los Angeles. 

This country hates poor people, and no one hates poor people more than people who want to go about their daily lives ignoring those who have less than them while simultaneously being annoyed that those same people with less and nowhere to go are sleeping on the same streets and sidewalks they want to walk down without having to acknowledge the significant impact unemployment, inflation, high rent prices and mental health are having on those who simply want to have somewhere safe to sleep at night. 
No one cared about the unhoused until those with untreated and unchecked mental health issues and/or drug problems started causing problems on the Venice Beach boardwalk. After multiple attacks happened in that area, the city started actively working to clear out the multiple homeless encampments along the boardwalk to make it safe for the white people tourists who want to walk around that area. 
I have watched them clear out encampments before, and it is the most dehumanizing thing you have ever seen in your life. 
They don’t just tell the people to pack up and leave. They arrive on the scene with garbage trucks and people in hazmat suits. Law enforcement is always with them, in case anyone “resists” or gets unruly. People are rushed to gather all their belongings and get moving, but they aren’t given any alternative place to go.
Those who cannot carry everything with them in one trip face having their belongings trashed, so it becomes a situation where they have to pick and choose what is most important to them and what they think they can now live without.
I’ve seen them throw away people’s tents and mattresses before. It’s cruel.
I understand that homelessness is a huge and “inconvenient” problem for other residents of the city. I find myself regularly having to maneuver around tents and people’s personal belongings strewn across the sidewalk when I go downtown for appointments. 
I also think there is a more humane way to handle these things, and it needs to be solutions-oriented, but this country hates poor people, and it is not actively seeking solutions, so criminalizing homelessness it is. 
Introducing unhoused people with untreated mental illness and drug problems into the criminal justice system just creates more problems. 
Criminalize the Supreme Court.
Criminalize the fat cats who make it impossible to live in American cities for a reasonable price. 
Criminalize policies and policymakers who do nothing to help the problem.
Classism in America is a disease, and it is making American society worse by the day. 
The truth of the matter is most people in America are one missed paycheck away from financial disaster. Any one of us could be homeless at any minute.
Criminalizing homelessness is not a solution or a remedy for the problem; it’s an infected Band-Aid, and the wound is only going to get worse.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at thejournalista.com