Gov. DeSantis endorses bill to try and prevent homelessness

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed a proposed bill to get homeless people off the streets.

The bill is being discussed in this legislative session.

Under the bill, counties and municipalities would have to ban public sleeping or public camping on public property without a permit.

“Part of what leadership is is to look to see what hurdles could be five years out, 10 years out and are we putting in places, structures to ensure success,” DeSantis said.

He also said he would be open to providing additional funding for shelters and programs to help with substance abuse and mental health.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Jonathan Martin of Fort Myers, encourages the creation of designated sleeping and camping spots throughout communities.

If the bill were signed into law, those who sleep or camp in non-designated areas could be arrested.

The bill also encourages local businesses and people in the community to file lawsuits against cities and counties that aren’t abiding by the law.

“I think these protections will be very good for Floridians,” DeSantis said. “I think it will ensure that we don’t see part of our state descend into the madness that you’ve seen in places like San Francisco, New York City, or Seattle.”

Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner said they already have a similar law in place and it has worked in the aspect of getting more people in shelters.

This bill still needs to get through the Rules Committee before it can go to the full Senate for a vote.

“We’re going to work very closely with the legislature,” DeSantis said. “I’m confident we’re going to get a product that’s going to add really strong protections for the people throughout the state of Florida.”

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