Criminalization of Homelessness and Mental Health in the United States

Shadow Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee For the United States’ Review of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The U.S. will soon be up for review by the ICCPR. The Committee has already condemned the U.S. in its criminalization of homelessness as it raised “concern of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.” We are asking the Committee to extend its attention to four specific practices that have emerged since 2014:

  1. Increased funding for national and state level criminalization
  2. Use of federal police to enforce criminalization
  3. Criminalization of people who provide homeless communities with food and other aid
  4. Expansion of involuntary commitment against unhoused people experiencing mental health crisis

We are calling on the State Party to abolish the criminalization of homelessness, including involuntary commitment, and to reallocate funding towards evidenced-based solutions such as #HousingFirst.

Year: 2023
Resource Type:
Courts Systems
Fees and Fines
Human Rights
Petty Offences
Public Health
Use of Public Spaces
North America
United States
People Groups:
Children & Young People
People experiencing Homelessness or live in informal settlements
People experiencing Poverty
Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)
Law Reform
Policy Reform
Campaign Partner:
Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law
National Homelessness Law Center