Leon County Commissioners Vote Against Ordinance Addressing Homelessness Issues

Leon County Commissioners Vote Against Ordinance Addressing Homelessness Issues

The Leon County Commission voted down an ordinance that addressed public health and safety issues, including issues related to homelessness. The vote took place during the Tuesday evening county meeting on January 25, 2022.

Tallahassee Reports has previously reported on this issue.

In a county commission meeting in December 2021, Commissioners Bill Proctor, Brian Welch, Rick Minor, and Carolyn Cummings voted to draft a new ordinance concerning soliciting and public safety. Commissioners Nick Maddox, Kristin Dozier, and Jimbo Jackson were in opposition to the new ordinance.

However, it appears there was a change of heart among some of the Board members, and after a lengthy discussion, the draft ordinance was unanimously defeated.

Commissioner Welch began the discussion after hearing from a few concerned citizens worried the ordinance would criminalize homelessness. He said he knows everyone’s heart is in the right place, whether they are for or against the ordinance. “This is a touchy subject,” Welch said. “I feel the ordinance is a thoughtful and responsible approach to setting some guardrails for what we consider an acceptable quality of life.”

Welch went on to say the ordinance does not criminalize the homeless population and gives the sheriff and deputies maximum discretion, and there is no stepped enforcement. He motioned to approve the ordinance, but the motion failed when it did not garner a second vote.

The discussion continued as Dozier commented that she wants to hear a report in six months by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) regarding the progress of the Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST) deputies initiative. She also clarified that she would never support an ordinance such as this now or in the future.

The HOST deputies were approved during the December 14 meeting and were allocated approximately $491,000 in funding for the program. The deputies are solely assigned to address homelessness issues and connect individuals to available housing and social services.

Commissioners Minor, Cummings, and Jackson agreed they want to hear a report from the sheriff as well. “A half a million is worth us reviewing in six months,” Jackson said. However, Cummings also suggested the possibility of revisiting an ordinance in the future if needed.

The last concern mentioned by Chair Proctor was the possible increase in arrests adding to our already packed jails. He said the LCSO is already leasing space from Wakulla and Jefferson Counties jails at $96 a night per individual.

“Adding to this because of someone camping in the woods…can be a very expensive business,” Proctor said. Proctor added, “we have the good fortune to have a sheriff that understands the difference between social work and criminal justice work.”

The discussion concluded with a unanimous vote to table the draft ordinance and to hear an update in six months from the LCSO on the HOST deputies’ endeavors.

22 Responses to "Leon County Commissioners Vote Against Ordinance Addressing Homelessness Issues"

  1. @ A Skeptic: That is why there was no homeless problems for elected Nannies to spend millions of taxpayer dollars in a self serving, wasteful, and actually harmful to the poor homeless folks in our community back in the day.
    Welcome to the Era of The Panzies. Panzy voters electing Panzy politicians AKA “Nannies”.
    Curse you Panzies you are actually harmful to our local folks down on their luck and enabling the problems of human trafficking, child sex abuse and regular child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and early death to the most vulnerable in our community.
    Curses on you local Panzies may you disgusting and harmful enablers never win another election again.

  2. Back in the 70s, a guy was caught stealing from a convenience store over on Roberts Ave. He was arrested and had to go in front of the judge. (I don’t remember the judge’s name, but he had a great reputation around here.) Anyway, the bum had stolen a sandwich that at the time had a retail price in the $2-$3 range. No booze, no threats, no assault on an employee, etc.

    The judge sentenced him to time served and “offered” him a ride, by one of the city’s finest, back to the railroad tracks where he had gotten off a boxcar with the understanding that he had no reason to ever return to Tallahassee.

    That kind of justice just doesn’t exist any more…

  3. No doubt about it, if a person or family who is a resident of Leon County and becomes homeless, we should take care of them and help them get back on their feet.

    However, if some freeloader, that never lived here, comes to Tallahassee to take advantage of what our area has to offer, they should be sent back from where they came. Put them on a bus, plane, car, truck, boat, roller-skates, scooter or whatever to get them out of town.

    That would be cheaper than supporting them with our local services and charities and have them taking up room in our limited shelters. That local support should be reserved for only our local homeless who have fallen on hard times for whatever reason. We can’t afford to the care-takes of anyone who drifts into our area and decides to stay. Let’s start taking care of our own Leon County.

  4. So very disappointed. I actually didn’t go into a local favorite restaurant last weekend because I didn’t feel safe with the panhandlers hovering outside it… so local businesses are definitely being affected.

  5. The bringing back of the vagrency laws and the road work 90 days hard labor would go a long way to beautifying that N Monroe corridor. Plus give the homeless 3 squares a day and a 3 month abstinence from meth and natty light addictions.
    To not implement the vagrency laws is cruel and unusual punishment on our vulnerable homeless population along with enabling their addictions and early death.
    How could anyone not see this as the way, the truth, and the light to lift up our homeless population to a life of health, dignity, and self sufficiently.

  6. PS

    They don’t want to spend any more funds on public safety making sure citizens are safe. They are diverting the funds to a stadium rather than spending our tax dollars on Public Safety and law enforcement.

    May God have mercy on their souls.

  7. Vote the morons, imbeciles, grifters, and corruption O-U-T!!

    There is no reason that they could not do anything about pandering in the intersections. It is incompetence in full display.

  8. The homeless issue has become terrible for some local businesses. I have had a relationship with one small business that has struggled with the situation for years. Thefts (including very expensive items, not freaking bread) has had led to changes there. With thefts, begging, fires, shooting up, harassment from tweakers, this has been a factor in the store’s financial difficulties. We do need to not hurt and dehumanize the homeless, but to treat them as saintly and have the law ignore their presence helps no one.

    Instead of complaining about how we need to kick our commissioners out like children, ask yourself: why are they in? Most of my friends are progressive and I see that they tend to be far more politically active than those who are not progressive. A certain commissioner is friends with a number of my friends. He is a popular person. These friends are extremely active on social media, have the zeal to spread names and know who and how to get to create polished merchandise. Their approach is positive rather than attacking. It’s natural they’d do better politically. Instead of complaining, stereotyping, get to know what you’re up against and do better at election time. It’s not all about better policy but visibility.

  9. @Snidely Whiplash, used to be crooks tripped, fell and hit their head on the way to jail. Used to be, being poor was being poor. What does being poor look like today? The poor today receive a safe, well heated/airconditioned home to live in for free, free cell phone, free internet, tax credits (but do not pay taxes), a “nicer newer car”/”drive what you wanna drive”, welfare check, free health care, free legal representation after being charged with a crime, free/reduced college tuition, and an EBT card that allows cash withdrawals. let’s just throw some more money at the problem. If I was a candidate for office, my platform would be, no more tax increases, cancel/contract out the city bus, sell Tallahassee Utilities to Talquin Electric, hire more cops, and build a giant city jail. Enough, already.

  10. If you build it, they will come, I dont want them to come.
    Take them to the county line and leave them there, word travels fast, soon they will not come anymore. Keep feeding and housing them, and the problems will continue.

  11. We have gotten soft and weak over the years. Used to be laws against vagrency back in the day.
    A person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging.

    Bring back the vagrency laws. Throw them in the local road prison for 90 days hard labor. That will solve the problem.

  12. You think of all the energy expended on this exercise they could have at least come up with a solution to end the pandering in the intersections where there is exploitation, sex trafficking, etcetera… Not to mention the dangerous implications to both the person in the median and the general public at large.

    Not only will they make the homelessness worse in Tallahassee because they just sent a message that the coast is clear to come to Tallahassee to pander.

    A group of middle schoolers could have figured this out better than these morons we have and the morons who elected them.

    Vote these morons out including the sheriff!

  13. I bought my first house in ’83. A few years later, a new house was built across the street. A low-income minority family wanted the house but couldn’t afford it. The NAACP got involved and threatened the bank with discrimination claims and suits so the bank gave in and financed the sale. The new owners couldn’t even afford to mow the lawn, much less make their monthly payment. The grass/weeds grew so tall that the dead station wagon in the back yard wasn’t visible from the street. The city would occasionally come by with their tractors/mowers and make two passes around the curb to push the weed-line closer to the house. When the house was eventually foreclosed it took a general contractor to make it livable again.

    This is what meddling with low income lives does. What plan is there to actually make the lives of the NO-income people better?

  14. Corruption and Cronyism are king in Tallahassee. Perhaps if this town was more welcoming to businesses (manufacturing, logistics, shipping) and to local business over the last 25 years there would be solid entry level jobs for the homeless to find their independence.

    Do not forget the over a decades worth of the “Buy Local” campaign by local leaders. As soon as the biggest killer of local businesses in Amazon came courting our local leaders the “Buy Local” campaign was forgotten.

    Bezos wants a ‘worker/consumer’ class and our local elected leaders are more than happy to oblige at your detriment.

  15. @ David T. Hawkins, why should the taxpayer build anyone a home? Do honestly think I want you to rehab/purchase a home in my neighborhood then give it to a homeless/low income person? If you want to learn what happens when you give somebody something for nothing, go visit Magnolia Terrace Apartments that was recently renovated. It was a pigsty. The renovation company had to pay the residents to clean up their homes and cooperate with the construction workers. The grounds had “snake skins” (condoms) laying outside on the ground. The residents didn’t earn it so they did not take care of it. If you want to help local businesses, stop supporting government businesses like Star Metro and Tallahassee Utilities that have unfair advantages over the private sector. Why is the tax payer in the Bus business? Once you hire a new City Bus Driver, the tax payer is on the hook for their pay and benefits until death. Yes, the tax payer funds their salary, healthcare and retirement benefits. The other issues you addressed at hawkins2022.com would better be addresses at the State and Federal Level. As a retiree whose tax return says, I make a lot of money. After paying 22 percent in federal taxes, a couple grand in County taxes, paying for my own healthcare I have less to buy groceries than the typical food stamp recipient has. What makes you think they need more? My advice is run on a platform of cancelling programs and lowering taxes.

  16. Like the changing climate… homelessness has been around since the beginning of time, and will exists until the end of time. Millions upon millions upon millions upon millions of our tax dollars have been wasted and grafted on countless feckless ideas, consultants, and plans to attempt to fix an unfixable perpetual reality… and this meeting of the mindless confirms that we shall head around the mountain… AGAIN.

  17. You can pass all the Homelessness Ordinance’s you want but, until you actually do something FOR the Homeless, the Ordinance’s will not work. Both the City and County Commissions have thrown big Money at this problem over the years and yet none of it went to actually trying to solve the actual problem to help the Homeless. I am truly an “Outside The Box” thinker and this is what I propose to do.

    You must first acknowledge that, to help the Homeless, you have to actually HELP the Homeless. We start by building a Gated Quonset Hut Community. Starting with Ten Quonset Huts and having room to expand with each measuring about 40×100. One is used as for the Shower facility’s that will also house the Laundry Facility, one will be used as the Kitchen and Dinning Hall, one will be used for the TV & Rec Hall, one used for the Offices and Classroom with Internet while six are used for housing, more can be added as needed.

    The Quonset Huts are set up, side by side lengthwise. You start with 10 to 20 acres of land, build a square “U” shaped Road to divide the property into three equal strips. The Activity Quonset Huts will be in the middle while the Living Quarters Quonset Huts will run down the outer parcels. We know the Community needs to be on a Bus Route therefor there are few places to choose from buy 10 to 20 Acres on Tram Road (inside Cap. Cir.) or on Spring Hill Road (inside Cap. Cir.) then if needed, do the same thing on the west side of Tallahassee.

    To maintain the Property and Buildings, Cooking, Cleaning, Grounds Keeping, Maintenance, you assign Jobs to those staying there that are able to do them. Doing this will give them something to do as well as time to get cleaned up, get the help they need and hopefully find a Job. It will also give them an Address so they can receive their Benefits, especially since many of them are Veterans. The hardest part of this project will be to keep the Commissions from over designing and over spending on it, there is no need to even do a Study on it. Simple and basic is all that is needed for this. 10 Acres could hold up to 30 Quonset Huts with plenty of green space between them and around them as well as the Interior Road. You are not building all 30 Quonset Huts at once, just the first 10 to start then expand as needed.

    My estimates come in at $500,000 for 10 Acres of Land, $200,000 for Fencing & Gates, $250,000 for each of the Six Living Quarters Quonset Huts to be Built out and Furnished, $250,000 for each of the Four Activities Quonset Huts, $500,000 for the Road, $50,000 for Landscaping and $100,000 for Miscellaneous things for a Total of $3,850,000. These are just estimates from the research I have done. 40 People can be housed in each Quonset Hut for a total of 240 Total People in the first Six Huts. The Plan is that, the majority of the Residents staying there are only going to be there about 12 to 24 Months until they get back on their feet and find Jobs.

    This and more are on my Campaign Web Site at Hawkins2022.com

  18. The classic “kick the can down the road” move. The commission members have been in office long enough and lived in the community long enough to have solved the homeless problem by now if they knew how. Seriously, how is your life better because these people were serving as County Commissioners, basically working parttime, earning more money than most earn working full time? Oh sure, they did approve the “abortion now, abortion forever” decree. This is what you get electing liberal Democrats to office. BTW do you know why they run as “no party affiliation”? Because it is free. To run on a democrat ticket requires a fee.

  19. I had to lock up my brakes to keep from hitting a beggar at the intersection of Centerville rd, and Capital circle because he was playing in the middle of the street and fighting with another homeless person over the corner.

    I gotta get out of here, this place is run by morons and thieves.

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