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A homeless encampment.
People have set up tents in a small homeless encampment in the Park and Ride parking lot off Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial bill Wednesday that forbids homeless people from sleeping in public places and prevents local governments from allowing them to stay there unless the state authorizes them to do so. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel)
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Muri Assunção | New York Daily ɫ̳

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday banning people experiencing homelessness from sleeping in public spaces, including parks and sidewalks, in an effort to address an issue he says has “plagued communities across the country,” such as New York and California.

The legislation, titled the l, or HB 1365, prohibits counties and municipalities from authorizing or allowing “public camping or sleeping on public property.” It also allows local officials to create “temporary campsites” when existing shelters reach maximum capacity.

“Florida will not allow homeless encampments to intrude on its citizens or  like we see in states like New York and California,” the Republican governor, said Wednesday in a news release. “The legislation I signed today upholds our commitment to law and order while also ensuring homeless individuals have the resources they need to get back on their feet.”

While acknowledging the “difficult issues” faced by those individuals — such as mental health and drug abuse issues — DeSantis said Floridians “should not be accosted by a homeless like we see.”

“You should be able to able to ,” the former presidential hopeful told reporters at a press conference held at a restaurant in South Miami Beach.

According to DeSantis, the campsites will enforce the prohibition of the use of alcohol and illegal substances, while also providing people with access to substance abuse and mental health treatment resources.

But critics say the $30 million the state has allocated to implement the measures is not nearly enough.

“We’re going to need  if we’re going to build up these resources,” Megan Sarmento, an outreach program manager for the Florida Harm Reduction Collective, told the Tallahassee Democrat.

“Even now, how the system is, we are finding people on the streets and are unable to link them to care because of the lack of resources, including housing and detox.”

The new legislation will likely make life for those individuals even harder, according to Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat representing parts of Orlando.

“Property insurance rates in FL have skyrocketed, making it increasingly difficult for families to afford homes. Rent is high, wages too low,” Eskamani posted on X earlier on Wednesday. “But instead of addressing those issues, DeSantis just signed into law a bill that will “

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