New legislation in Tallahassee, homelessness spirals out of control in the Sunshine State

BOYNTON BEACH, FL, UNITED STATES, March 11, 2024 / — The Florida Action Committee (FAC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing public safety through rational, evidence-based legislation, is warning the public of a homelessness crisis in the state after the Florida Legislature concluded its 2024 annual session on March 8, 2024.

At the top of the list of the many bills described as “anti-family” by the Florida Action Committee which were passed by the Florida Legislature during its 2024 session is HB 1365, entitled “An act relating to unauthorized public camping and public sleeping.” According to the preamble of the bill, the new law will prohibit all counties and municipalities in the state from authorizing or otherwise allowing sleeping on public property.

According to FAC President Gail Colletta, who has personally briefed a committee of the United Nations about Florida’s homelessness crisis, HB 1365 is just one of many laws at the root of the problem. “The homelessness crisis in Florida, which has completely spiraled out of control, is a problem almost entirely of the state’s own making,” Colletta was quoted as saying.

This is because a state law passed in 2004 and subsequently amended in 2008, 2010, and 2014 prohibits most persons required to register as sexual offenders in the state from residing within 1,000 feet of any school, childcare facility, park, or playground. Almost immediately after the state law was passed, cities and counties across the state began what Colletta describes as a “race to the bottom” to expand those housing restrictions far beyond what the state law mandates.

As a result of the complicated web of state, county, and municipal laws, persons required to register as sexual offenders have no place to lawfully reside in most of the state’s densely populated urban areas. According to Colletta, the widespread homelessness among this population has led to extreme human rights abuses by some state officials. For example, many persons required to register as sexual offenders in the Tampa Bay area have reported that their probation officers have ordered them to live in wooded areas outside city limits or risk arrest, a claim state corrections officials have denied.

“Now, with HB 1365 making it illegal for anyone to sleep on public property, which includes most of the wooded areas where numerous probationers have informed us their supervising officers have ordered them to stay at night, the state has come full circle,” Colletta explained.

“On the one hand, the state has made it illegal for this population to live anywhere other than wooded areas on county property outside the city limits. Now, even that has become illegal. In effect, HB 1365 has made the very existence of most persons required to register in the state unlawful,” Colletta noted.

Colletta has urged the Florida Legislature to address the state’s homelessness crisis by repealing the same laws that have created it.

Gail Colletta
Florida Action Committee
+1 833-273-7325
[email protected]

Originally published at

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