Plan Passes to Curb Homeless Public Sleeping

Plan Passes to Curb Homeless Public Sleeping

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A controversial proposal designed to prevent homeless people from sleeping in public places while requiring local governments to address the issue is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday voted 27-12 along party lines to pass the bill (HB 1365), which would bar cities and counties from allowing people to sleep at places such as public buildings and in public rights of way. The House approved the bill last week, and DeSantis has voiced support for it.

Senate sponsor Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, said the goal is to provide safer locations for people than sleeping at places such as parks or under overpasses and pavilions.

“Insufficient shelter beds and insufficient permanent housing solutions result in unsheltered sleeping and camping in public places, places that we want our kids and grandkids to enjoy, like the parks,” Martin said. “This bill is a compassionate response to the shortage of shelters and supportive housing by providing an alternative to sleeping in the streets.”

But Democrats argued the state would provide limited resources to local governments to carry out the measure, potentially exposing the local governments to lawsuits.

Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-Miami Gardens, said the measure is “literally reshuffling the visibility of unhoused individuals with no exit strategy for people who are experiencing homelessness.”

“I understand that this bill does not make it illegal for people to sleep in public places,” Jones said. “But rather, it appears to make it illegal for local governments to ignore people sleeping in public.”

The measure would allow local governments to designate certain property for sleeping or camping if the sites meet standards set by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Such areas, which could only be used for one year, would have to include access to such things as restrooms and running water, have security and be deemed alcohol- and drug-free. Also, the sites could not harm values of nearby properties or safety.

The bill would give residents and business owners standing to file civil lawsuits against local governments for allowing illegal sleeping or camping on public property.

Fiscally constrained counties — mostly rural counties — would be exempted from certain requirements if complying would create a financial hardship.

Sen. Jason Pizzo, D-Sunny Isles Beach, said the bill isn’t designed to solve homelessness, but to clean streets of a “nuisance.”

“When you say that Jefferson County will not have to provide behavioral health services to this, but in Broward County you will, you don’t really mean it that you’re trying to help all those people,” Pizzo said, referring to rural Jefferson County being fiscally constrained.

Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Windermere, said costs for local governments could top $500 million and cautioned that the planned “encampments have the potential to increase human trafficking.”

Sen. Rosalind Osgood, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who was once homeless, said the approach would create greater mistrust between people experiencing homelessness and law enforcement and could divide communities.

Martin said a $117.46 billion state budget, which lawmakers are expected to pass Friday, includes $30 million in challenge grants for local governments to provide mental-health and substance-abuse services, short-term and traditional shelters and sanctioned camping and safe-harbor sites.

In February, DeSantis pointed to homeless problems in San Francisco as he expressed support for legislative efforts to provide “some support for counties for additional sheltering, providing some financial support for both substance-abuse (programs) and mental health.”

“What we don’t want to see in the legislation is any incentive to create homeless camps, particularly in areas that would interfere with the public conducting normal business,” DeSantis said during a Feb. 5 news conference in Miami Beach.

13 Responses to "Plan Passes to Curb Homeless Public Sleeping"

  1. Areas of Tallahassee to reclaim from the blight: Lake Ella, downtown parks, north Monroe, west Tennessee street, Pensacola Street. Dear regressives, those areas have truly met the definition of deplorable.

  2. @ DeepStatePropagandist… Call you buddy Joe and tell him to stop taking care of illegal aliens and start taking care of Americans.

    Let us know how that goes.

  3. This whole thing just makes me sad. Lots of the homeless are mentally ill. And yet, it annoying to have to see their living conditions, and can sometimes feel dangerous. I suspect many of them don’t want help. They are American’s like us, people like us, but so much of our compassion has turned into righteous apathy.

    Committing .025% of the budget doesn’t seem like it will really do too much, the optics are good until you realize that it is less than 500K per county, so enough to purchase a median home in Tallahassee. What we have is essentially an unfunded mandate for non rural counties; there just aren’t funds at a local level to put up a bunch of shelters that are policed to insure there are no drugs or prostitution or violence.

  4. Excellent comments, including yours, Hope. Kudos to David who put it quite succinctly.

    And Brittney… your compassion – albeit misguided – is commendable. But instead of focusing on the existence of the ever-growing problem, try turning your attention to the cause of the problem. That of course being the Dementia Patient globalists’ puppet in the White House, and the anti-America progressively-Marxist Democrat Party and their destructive agenda. For every 1 illegal alien they let in, 2 American citizens end up on the streets. And don’t forget the drugs coming in from China via the Dementia Patient’s cartel partners. If you think you’ll escape their destructive wrath, you’re sorely mistaken. Try to put your ideology and TDS aside and focus on reality and the future of our Republic.

    I’ll take mean tweets any day, over what these treasonous reprobates are doing to our country.

  5. We do have a plan. It’s called, get a job and don’t do drugs. When you do drugs you get to go to jail. When you don’t have a job, you don’t have money to pay for a home or a place to stay.

    There are funds to deal with those who are truly in need. We have compassion and we will provide, but the handouts to the drug addicts and the people who are able to work needs to stop. Veterans, children, and the elderly deserve compassion and care.

    If you can go stand in an intersection and hold up your sign to your $Cash App account you should be able to work.

  6. Amen @Guy!! Brittney, if you enjoy taking your kids to a park full of drugged out homeless people, good for you. The rest of us, do not. You are clearly a liberal. SMH @David Hawkins- You are Spot on, Close the border and use the money that we spend on illegals, on fixing the homeless crisis.

  7. You’re right, Britney. They’re not an STD — they’re a plague! Ah, yes, I love it when my kids go play in the park next to the meth’ed out homeless people who’re defecating in open view. Take your bleeding heart somewhere else. These people should be offered a jail cell or a one-way ticket to SanFran.

  8. Here is a thought, CLOSE the Border and stop ALL illegal entry, DEPORT ALL of those that entered ILLEGALLY and ban them from returning. THEN, do for the Homeless what the Government is doing for the illegals.

  9. @ Nicholas Weed = I’d like to see Daily try, I live in the County and I PAY for that Service. I would be suing him so fast.

  10. Homeless camps? It’s said like that would be a bad thing. The fact that homelessness is looked at like a STD is sickening.

    Our kids and grandkids can enjoy parks where homeless people are at. Maybe that’s what’s needed. We hide the reality of it from our kids and when we pass them on the street we onatrict our children to look the other way. Perpetuating the cycle of no compassion and normalizing the epidemic no one wants to address.

    How about we release the 70 percent of our prison population that’s incarcerated for non violent (mainly drug offender) crimes and open those beds, meals, medical treatment, and education programs to the homeless? Oh but no one wants to consider that, right? Because the coke dealer serving 20 years for selling something no different than alcohol deserves to be punished more than the people sleeping outside deserve a safe clean place to rest.

    We have everything so backwards. SMH

  11. Have places to have them sleep that won’t disturb neighbors?

    NIMBYs? In Tallahassee? No way! There couldn’t be!

  12. Surely, TR will report the mayor’s recent meltdown regarding threatening to take away fire services from county residents.

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