Florida Passes Statewide Ban on Public Sleeping and Camping

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The Florida Legislature has given the green light to a bill aimed at addressing homelessness in the state. If Governor Ron DeSantis signs it into law, the bill (HB 1365) will enforce a statewide ban on public camping and sleeping.

Key Points:

  • The bill prohibits public sleeping and camping.
  • Residents and business owners can take legal action against cities failing to enforce the ban.
  • Local governments have the option to establish temporary housing sites.
  • The law is expected to take effect in October if approved by Governor DeSantis.

Governor DeSantis expressed support for the bill in February, emphasizing that it aims to prevent any part of the state from facing challenges related to homelessness.

The proposal primarily focuses on local policies and the unhoused population in Florida. It restricts local governments from adopting rules that permit homeless camps or sleeping on sidewalks.

Under the bill, cities and counties can set up temporary sites to accommodate people experiencing homelessness. These sites must adhere to specific regulations, including provisions for security, restrooms, running water, and a prohibition on drugs and alcohol. The sites should also not negatively impact nearby property values.

Florida Passes Statewide Ban on Public Sleeping and Camping

Senator Jonathan Martin, the bill’s sponsor, highlighted that the legislation provides a compassionate response to the shortage of shelters and supportive housing by offering an alternative to sleeping on the streets.

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The bill grants residents and business owners the authority to take legal action against local governments if they fail to enforce the law.

Critics argue that the measure doesn’t effectively address the root causes of homelessness and express concerns about potential stress on local government budgets and resources.

If Governor DeSantis signs the bill into law, it will come into effect in October.

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