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DeSantis Indicators Bill Prohibiting Homeless Persons from Sleeping in Public Areas and Parks

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A contentious bill banning homeless people from camping in parks, sidewalks, and other public areas was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. House Bill 1365 is a piece of legislation that attempts to address the “plagued” areas with homelessness, according to DeSantis.

DeSantis defended the rule as an extension of his “law and order” agenda during a press conference in Miami Beach, where recent initiatives have resulted in the arrest of homeless people for refusing shelter. He said, “You should not be accosted by a homeless (person).” You ought to be allowed to go about your life and stroll down the street.”

The bill, which goes into effect on October 1, forbids towns and counties from allowing public sleeping areas or camping. Instead, it permits the establishment of authorized camps that are located away from residential and commercial areas and are overseen by the Department of Children and Families. Services for mental health, sanitation, and security must be provided in these camps.

Beginning on January 1, 2025, the law allows individuals, corporations, and the attorney general to sue local governments in order to compel compliance. Then, counties and cities would have five days to address any alleged violations; if they failed, they would be responsible for costs and legal fees.

Democratic MPs are among the critics of the bill who claim it is unsupported by evidence and favors punitive measures over aid for the homeless. The legislation exempts financially strapped counties from providing necessary camp services, even if it offers $10 million in money.

Some who oppose the rule worry that it could lead to dangerous and lawless encampments, similar to failed attempts like the one that occurred in Gainesville in 2014. Homeless advocacy groups prioritize housing and point to effective models in areas such as Miami-Dade County to support their position.

DeSantis argues that homeless aid and public safety must coexist, but the bill’s alleged punitiveness has drawn criticism.

The discussion goes on as Florida struggles with an increase in homelessness and varying approaches to solving the problem.

What do you think?

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