Gov. Ron DeSantis is collaborating with the Florida legislature on a proposed initiative to prohibit public camping across the state. He believes this measure will help uphold law and order and address the issue of homelessness.
DeSantis hosted a press conference in Miami Beach on Monday morning to address the initiative alongside Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass.
“Our focus is on offering assistance to counties for sheltering needs, as well as providing financial support for substance abuse and mental health programmes,” DeSantis explained.
During his speech, DeSantis expressed his desire to avoid the emergence of homeless encampments similar to those found in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.
“By exploring the situation, we can identify areas of improvement and determine the path forward for our state,” DeSantis stated.
The Republican governor announced a new initiative aimed at maintaining public order and quality of life by prohibiting camping on city streets, sidewalks and parks.
Last month, a measure called House Bill 1365 was filed, which aims to prohibit public sleeping or camping on public property without a permit.
DeSantis expressed his willingness to allocate funds for sheltering and to tackle mental illness and substance abuse as part of the initiative.
A bill has been proposed by Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, which would allow local governments to designate specific property for sleeping or camping, provided they meet the standards set by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
A new Senate proposal aims to address the issue of homelessness by implementing stricter regulations for designated areas. Under the proposal, these areas would be limited to one year of continuous use and would need to meet certain requirements. These requirements include access to amenities like restrooms and running water, security measures, availability of healthcare services, and being designated as alcohol and drug-free zones. Additionally, the bill ensures that the sites do not negatively impact the values of nearby properties or compromise safety.
Martin emphasized the goal of providing necessary treatment to homeless individuals without interfering with local not-for-profits. In addition, he emphasized the importance of ensuring that public spaces are accessible and enjoyable for all taxpayers.
The bill must pass the Rules Committee before proceeding to the full Senate. Additionally, it aims to incentivize individuals and businesses to take legal action if local governments fail to comply with the suggested regulations.