Florida Plans To Ban Unhoused From Sleeping On Public Property

Florida lawmakers plan to prevent thousands of homeless people from sleeping on public property.

According to the Associated Press, a bill was sent to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to ban unhoused people from camping out or sleeping on public property. The elected official is reportedly on board with the idea.

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Where Will The Unhoused Go?

Florida counties can assign areas for people without housing to set up camp for up to a year. However, the State Department of Children and Families must approve this action. A bill that passed 27-12 outlined these measures.

Any individual using the encampment must be drug and alcohol-free.

The legislation defines public camping as “residing overnight in a temporary outdoor habitation used as a dwelling or living space and evidenced by the erection of a tent or other temporary shelter, the presence of bedding or pillows, or the storage of personal belongings.”

This does not include individuals sleeping in legally parked motor vehicles.

Advocates claim the bill will help eliminate the issues unhoused people brought to the area. Additionally, supporters argue people without homes can receive resources with ease if they’re stationed in one location.

Republican Sen. Jonathan Martin sponsored the bill.

“It’s our responsibility to deal with homelessness and that’s why we can’t wait any longer to bring this solution. The current model is not working.”

What Boycotters Of The Florida Bill Are Saying

Senator Martin claims, “This bill is a compassionate response to the shortage of shelters.” However, opponents assert advocates of the bill want the homeless out of public view, AP reports.

“This bill does not, and it will not address the more pressing and root cause of homelessness,” argued Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones. “We are literally reshuffling the visibility of unhoused individuals with no exit strategy for people who are experiencing homelessness.”

Additionally, opposers state there are no measures to keep children safe from homeless sex offenders moving to nearby encampments. Furthermore, the allotted areas are not guaranteed to be sanitary or safe.

If DeSantis signs off, the bill will take effect Oct. 1.

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