Fort Lauderdale Looking Into More Homeless Crackdown Laws

Categories: Broward News

Wikimedia Commons
Fort Lauderdale city leaders are meeting Wednesday to look over the possibility of implementing new homeless laws that will put an end to panhandling, sleeping in public places, and even remove park benches in some areas.

Specifically, the focus will be on camping laws and looking to prevent the homeless from sleeping, eating, and encamping themselves in a public area with their belongings.

Much like a similar law passed months ago, the homeless encampment law will be about aesthetics. As the ordinance puts it, "the City of Fort Lauderdale has a substantial interest in the revitalization, preservation of property values and the prevention of the deterioration in its downtown."

See also: Fort Lauderdale Pushing for "Homeless Hate Laws," Advocacy Groups Say

According to documents, the city is using a $440,000 federal grant to help give housing to homeless deemed "at risk" of dying on the street. Problem is, there aren't enough apartments to go around. According to the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership, there are at least 500 homeless people living in Broward.

Still, the new ordinance being discussed looks to try and dissuade homeless people from sticking around in one place too long, and making it increasingly difficult for them to solicit for handouts.

The ordinance looks to make soliciting illegal in most parts of Broward -- particularly in the more heavily trafficked areas -- with each offense punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

These laws will be enforced based on their levels of traffic.

Soliciting might be allowed between NW 7th Ave. east to U.S. 1, but not on Sunrise Blvd.

Other parts would be permissible as long as traffic is flowing smoothly.

Then there's he anti-camping laws, which would prohibit camping of any kind in the downtown area from Sunrise Blvd. to SW 7th St. between SW 7th Ave. and Federal Highway.

In order to somewhat soften the blow, police officers will be required to make sure the homeless person being cited for camping doesn't need medical attention first. This includes mental health treatment. If an officer determines that the person is of sound mind, and not in any danger, they will then issue a citation.

Earlier this year, commissioners passed an ordinance that allows police the authority to confiscate a homeless person's possessions after a 24-hour notice and keep the possessions in storage until the person either pays a fee or can prove that they have no means to pay that fee.

If the confiscated items are not retrieved in 30 days, the city can then dispose of them, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance even had tricky language that would have allowed officers to disregard the 24-hour notice rule if the personal property caused public harm or if it merely smelled bad.

Nathan Pim, an activist with the Fort Lauderdale homeless advocates Food Not Bombs told New Times that the confiscation ordinance was merely a way of allowing police to do what they've always done anyway.

"Police officers do this stuff all the time," Pim said. "They take the belongings of homeless people constantly -- and this is just legal covering-up after the fact."

The latest anti-encampment ordinance includes a prohibition on things like tents, huts, sleeping bags, bedrolls or any other form of cover to protect a homeless person from the elements. The law would extend to streets, alleys, sidewalks, bike lanes, and parks.

The city commission is scheduled to take up the ordinance at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall in Fort Lauderdale.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.
Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

I am a homeless person in Broward county Ft. Lauderdale.  I have been homeless for the past year I am persistently looking for a job to get me out of the situation I am in.  YES I have slept downtown and YES I have utilized the feeding outlets.  These services out of the kindness of others has sustained me from worse things I am greatly Appreciative if the assistance I have received from the Churches and such.  On the Account of the Police they Harass the Homeless and Profile them  the first thing they do when you try to get checked into a shelter ( which there are not enough beds to accommodate the problem )  they run your license in the system  Which I believe is Profiling  they are looking for the Criminals and will haul them off to jail.  I know there are problems with the homeless people and there are problems on the government side  But without the means to support myself ( job ) etc I am forced to LIVE OUTSIDE.  and survive as long as I can until I can rectify my situation.  If you do use 211 and go see the people at the tree or try to get help  the first thing they do is put you in the category of an Addict or an Alcoholic  which I AM NOT EITHER !!!! My situation falls between the cracks and I am overlooked. and cannot find help to get me out of the situation.  


my buddy's sister-in-law makes $85 /hour on the laptop . She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her check was $15648 just working on the laptop for a few hours. look at here....



Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail


Mary Ensor
Mary Ensor

Crack down on the homeless, but don't offer any alternatives or resources. Some compassion goes a long way

frankd4 topcommenter

homelessness is based in DRUG abuse and a disconnect from reality and they congregate to satisfy their basic daily needs which is why there are pockets of people on a regular time and common routine to respond to their jones

a ft liquordale mayor fifty years ago wanted the fire department to do active burns in all beach trash cans to eliminate the foraging by the homelessness of scraps of food from these trash cans 

any current municipal response that is successful would be totally by accident since the elected leadership and related advisors and consultants are not qualified to deal with homelessness = period

as a new "season" is upon us to "screw the tourists" and extract premium prices for sub-par goods and services simply because moneyed northerners want to escape the cold and are willing to pay the ransom

we don't need the homelessnessers to populate our jails and hospitals until next july and august when the taxpayer can pick up the tab for incarcerations of and medical attention rendered to homeless who happen to qualify for federal assistance and medicaid which pays for medical responders including firemen and cops whose overtime goes to boat payments and ex-wives and current girlfriends and fancy cars


Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail


Rj Petrucci
Rj Petrucci

Nope - time for them to move to another city.

Aaron James
Aaron James

I dont mind them doing their thing, but the begging at the traffic lights really sucks, that goes for the churches as well.

riverrat69 topcommenter

So the solution to getting homeless people off the street is to take what little meager possessions that they have? Sounds like a plan.


free speech is a bitch

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault