Desantis-supported Law To Banned Homeless Individuals In Florida From Sleeping In Public Areas

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a law on Wednesday prohibiting homeless people in Florida from sleeping on sidewalks, in parks, or in other public places. It also says that homeless people will have easier access to programs for problems like mental health and drug abuse.

Under the new law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, the state Department of Children and Families will be in charge of local governments that set up places for homeless people to camp for up to a year. The camps would ensure cleanliness and safety, prohibiting alcohol consumption and the use of illegal drugs.

If local shelters for the homeless reach their full capacity, the governor’s office said in a news release that they would build the camps. As a condition of a county or city setting up an encampment, the law says that regional organizations must make sure that people who need behavioral treatment can get it.

DeSantis and other supporters of the measure stated at a news conference in Miami Beach that allowing homeless people to camp in public areas degrades the area’s quality of life, can annoy businesses, and makes it more difficult to provide them with the services they require due to their dispersion.

He said, “I think this is exactly the right balance to strike.” “The safety of the public must come first.”

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The most recent session of the Legislature projected a homeless population of 30,700 in Florida by 2023. That’s a small part of the number of homeless people in many big U.S. cities, but the people who pushed for the law said it could get worse because of how quickly Florida’s population is growing.

“This bill will not do away with homelessness. GOP state Rep. Sam Garrison said, “But it’s a start.” “And it makes it clear that our public spaces in Florida are worth fighting for.”

Opponents of the rule claim its purpose is to round up homeless people and hide them from view.

During a debate this year, Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones said, “This bill does not and will not address the more pressing and root cause of homelessness.” “We are literally shifting the visibility of homeless people around, and there is no way out for people who are homeless.”

DeSantis, on the other hand, said that the new rule is an original way to promise to help homeless people get the services they need.

“Those services need to be there to help people get back on their feet,” the governor said. “I believe it is important to keep the quality of life for the people of Florida high.”

When January 2025 comes around, the law says that locals, business owners, and the attorney general of the state can sue any city or county to stop letting homeless people camp or sleep on public land.

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