State needs more shelters if it wants to pass law to keep people from camping in public, residents living on streets say

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking a stand and supporting legislation that would, if passed, keep people from sleeping on sidewalks and public parks.

“We are not going to let any city turn into a San Francisco, not on our watch. We are not gonna let that happen,” DeSantis said during a Monday news conference.

The proposed legislation would force cities to take action, and with help from the state, supply more places for those in need. While there would be no criminal prosecution for those camping out, they could be forced to move on.

DeSantis and others say it would keep Florida cities safe, but Bruce Braswell believes it’s wrong. He thinks the state should help and stop politicizing homelessness.

RELATED: Volunteers with Changing Homelessness, other local groups count homeless people in Jacksonville

Others News4JAX spoke with, who are currently living on Jacksonville’s streets, agree that the issue is now becoming more political than social.

“Jacksonville needs to put in an alternative before they go ahead and keep the homeless people from sleeping on the streets,” one man said.

The man said he’s not sure it could even happen.

“Not unless they’re trying to make the homeless people more miserable,” he said. “They have to create an alternative. They need more shelters.”

Others are worried about how it would play out.

MORE: Florida 2nd in nation in number of those without homes, HUD finds

“And what are these people gonna do?” said another man who asked not to be identified. “I mean, not only do they need more shelters, but they need places to take care of the needy, the handicapped, and everything else, too. There’s a big, I mean, Jacksonville, has the largest population of homeless people that I’ve seen. I’ve been in Tampa, I’ve been all over.”

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan and the city council addressed homelessness in the city by passing a budget that included $2.6 million to help address the homeless but Deegan is not ready to sign off just yet on the proposed state ban.

“We continue to monitor, track, and analyze the impact of this legislation. Meanwhile, we are pursuing bipartisan local efforts to solve homelessness for the citizens of Jacksonville,” Deegan said in a statement.

But as those on the streets said that is going to be difficult since it appears more and more people are joining them.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.