Florida Passes Outdoor Sleeping Ban

Florida is the latest state to pass legislation barring unhoused people from sleeping or camping on public property.

1 minute read

March 27, 2024, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Three small tents set up on sidewalk under overpass in Miami, Florida.

Tents set up by unhoused residents in Miami, Florida. | Felix Mizioznikov / Adobe Stock

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning local jurisdictions from allowing unhoused residents to sleep or camp on public property, report Ana Goñi-Lessan and Thao Nguyen in USA Today.

The governor said the law also mandates “wraparound services” for homeless individuals and includes a $30 million allocation. The law “requires municipalities to designate a specific public space for camping and sleeping, if the shelters are full, with approval from the state Department of Children and Families. They must include security, behavioral health services and bathrooms with running water.”

Critics of the new law say the funding is not sufficient to address the state’s needs and that the law unfairly targets unhoused people and cities that try to protect them. “The measure has no penalties for those living on the streets, but it allows local residents, businesses and the state attorney general to sue local governments that don’t follow the restrictions.” According to a study from the National Homelessness Law Center, camping bans “unnecessarily displace a person experiencing homelessness to another public place, where they might find themselves at risk of subsequent enforcement.”

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