Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has come up with an unusual solution for solving Florida’s homeless problem: putting people in camps.
Although the idea may sound authoritarian or reminiscent of the power-crazed lunacy exhibited during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, it may actually be a viable solution.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that DeSantis is considering approving legislation that would help move homeless people off the streets and place them in specialized camps where they can enjoy access to various services.
However, DeSantis confirmed at a news conference in Miami Beach on Monday that the idea was still very much a “work in progress.”
“We feel that if the Legislature is willing to lean in on this, that we want to be there to be able to offer support, but it’s got to be done right,” he said. “It’s got to be done in ways that is focused primarily on ensuring public order, ensuring quality of life for residents, ensuring that people’s property values are maintained.”
We cannot allow any city in Florida to become like San Francisco, where homelessness, drugs, and crime have decimated the quality of life, hurt the economy, and eroded freedom.
In Florida we will continue to enact policies that promote accountability and community safety, unlike in California where they are promoting dangerous policies that harm their communities and economy.
House Bill 1365 and Senate Bill 1530, which are currently passing through the Florida legislatures, aim to allow local authorities to prohibit sleeping or camping on the majority of public land or properties accessible to the public.
As a result, counties and cities may earmark certain areas for camping and sleeping, provided these locations do not significantly and negatively impact adjacent residential or commercial properties.
The lawmaker sponsoring the legislation, Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers set the aim of the proposal is to get homeless people the help they need.
The goal is to take people who have mental-health issues, who have substance-abuse issues, who are sleeping in public parks, public parks that we fund with a lot of money every single year here in Tallahassee, making sure those public parks and those public space are used for what they are intended.
According to a report released last year by Florida’s Council on Homelessness, the number of homeless people in Florida is rising as a result of various factors, including the rising cost of living:
Per the annual Point in Time count, over the past five years, Florida has seen an 9% increase in the rate of Floridians experiencing “literal homelessness” (28,328 to 30,809 individuals from 2019 to 2023). The past two years’ Counts have shown increases; however, due to limitations conducting the Count during COVID, the accuracy of these increases are not certain.
What we do know is that Florida is facing an unprecedented housing market affordability crisis. Florida’s population growth is the second highest in the country. Supply and demand being fundamental market factors, this is causing housing costs to increase at extraordinary rates. That factor, coupled with population growth, has significantly increased pressure on the rental housing market.
Whatever comes of this idea, it cannot be worse than California, where homeless drug addicts occupy the streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other popular cities. If implemented successfully, it could potentially serve as a blueprint for other states to solve America’s growing problem of homelessness.