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MEDIA ADVISORY: NNEDV and Housing Not Handcuffs Advocates to Rally in Support of Homeless Rights at Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Hearing

April 18, 2024

NNEDV elevates dangers facing survivors of gender-based violence from abuse, lack of housing and shelter, and punitive policies; joins faith leaders, Members of Congress, advocates, and affected individuals to call for historic shift in homelessness policy during City of Grants Pass v. Johnson oral arguments


Contact: NNEDV Communications Team (

Washington, D.C. – The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) invites media and the public to the Housing Not Handcuffs Rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22, 2024, during the landmark hearing of City of Grants Pass v. Johnson.

The rally will demonstrate widespread support for the rights of homeless individuals and highlight the urgent need for a shift from arresting, fining, and ticketing to compassionate, effective, housing-first solutions to solve homelessness.

Dr. Wendy Mahoney, NNEDV’s Interim President & CEO, will speak to the specific dangers survivors of violence face from abuse, lack of housing and shelter, and inhumane policies that punish survival—like arresting, fining, and ticketing.

NNEDV joined seventy-five national, state, territorial, and local domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking organizations on an amicus brief on the case, urging the court to support the rights of people who are homeless, including unhoused survivors. The amicus brief, authored by the National Housing Law Project and Sexual Violence Law Center, argues that housing is extremely limited for gender-based violence survivors, often forcing them to make impossible choices between sleeping outside or suffering continued violence.

The brief argues that arresting, fining, and ticketing survivors will only increase their and their families’ risk of violence, trauma, and housing insecurity. Incidents of domestic violence and economic abuse sharply increased during the global pandemic, especially for survivors of color. Survivors from these historically marginalized communities are already more likely to experience intimate partner violence, compounded by systemic inequality that makes it harder to escape violence. The criminal history that results from citations, convictions, and periods of incarceration is reflected in tenant screening reports, making the ability to obtain safe housing even less likely. For survivors of color especially, housing providers commonly deny admission based upon contact with the criminal legal system.

Housing is safety for survivors. NNEDV calls on the Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling that arresting and ticketing people who have nowhere else to sleep is cruel and unusual punishment. And we call on policymakers to invest in proven strategies that help end abuse and homelessness, such as broad investments in affordable housing and targeted investments in survivor-specific housing programs.

Members of the press, advocates for homeless rights, policymakers, community leaders, and the general public are encouraged to attend the rally.


April 22, 2024


  • 8:30 – 9:00 AM EST: Visual Display of Solidarity: Supporters hold blankets, symbolizing collective support
  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST: Keynote speeches (speakers listed below)


U.S. Supreme Court, 1 First Street NE, Washington, D.C.


  • Ed Johnson, Director of Litigation at the Oregon Law Center and lead counsel for the respondents
  • U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
  • Rev. William Barber II, founding director of the Center for Public Theology & Public Policy at Yale Divinity School
  • Jesse Rabinowitz, Communications Director, National Homelessness Law Center
  • Helen Cruz, experienced homelessness in Grants Pass, OR
  • Donald Whitehead, CEO, National Coalition for the Homeless
  • Ann Oliva, CEO, National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Diane Yentel, CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • Bobby Watts, CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council
  • India Pungarcher, Outreach Specialist, Open Table Nashville
  • David Peery, Founder, Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity
  • Dr. Wendy Mahoney, Interim President & CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • Kathryn Monet, CEO, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
  • Additional speakers TBA

Select speakers, including NNEDV’s Dr. Wendy Mahoney, will be available for in-person media interviews beginning at 12:00 PM EST. To request an on-site interview, please email

City of Grants Pass v. Johnson is the most important case impacting homelessness of the past 40 years. The case will determine the critical issue of whether criminally punishing people for sleeping outdoors on public property when they have nowhere else to go violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishments.

“Many domestic violence survivors are forced to flee their homes to escape dangerous and life-threatening violence. A well-documented lack of safe, affordable housing options leaves many survivors without a choice but to survive outside. Our 18th Annual Domestic Violence Counts Report found that, of survivors’ 13,335 unmet requests for services in just one day, 54% were for housing or shelter. Looming budget cuts will further jeopardize survivors’ access to shelter. NNEDV and our member state and territorial coalitions join with amici on this brief to highlight the confounding dangers survivors face from abuse, lack of housing and shelter, and inhumane fees that punish survival. Housing is safety for survivors—we call on policymakers to invest in affordable housing and survivor-specific housing programs.” – Dr. Wendy B. Mahoney, Interim President & CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV)

If you are unable to attend the rally, RSVP for a 2:00 PM EST press call with select speakers following oral arguments HERE.


 Dr. Wendy Mahoney, Interim President & CEO of NNEDV, has over 35 years of experience in the nonprofit and social service fields. She has held leadership positions as Executive Director for Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Executive Director for Mississippi Families as Allies for Children’s Mental Health, and Executive Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Mississippi. Dr. Mahoney’s vast array of experiences and success come from her years of non-profit management; program development; grant writing; direct service; school administration; community leadership and development; cultural responsiveness consulting; and personal and professional development training. Dr. Mahoney has traveled extensively throughout the country providing training, resources, and support on children’s mental health, organizational development, and domestic violence.

Dr. Mahoney’s published works include “Enhancing domestic violence advocates’ ability to discuss HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Feasibility and acceptability of an educational intervention,” Women’s Health and “Domestic Violence” in the Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy and Governance. Other works include a national training entitled, Recognizing Early-Onset Mental Health Disorders: Key Warning Signs for Educators, which was recognized by the University of Columbia as best practice in children’s mental health. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Tougaloo College, Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and 6th year certificate in Education Administration from Minnesota State University-Mankato. Dr. Mahoney received a Doctor of Theology from Grace Through Faith School of Ministry and is finishing a doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Jackson State University.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization working to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.