Fort Lauderdale has come under fire for arresting a 90-year-old man who was feeding the homeless after the city passed tougher regulations on how outdoor “feedings” can be held.
The new restrictions are just part of a series of changes that have affected South Florida homeless individuals’ lifestyle: sleeping, using the restroom, storing belongings, and asking for money. A national report published earlier this year by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty found a general trend toward what it calls "criminalizing the homeless," and criticized the laws of some areas in Florida.
Many of these changes are said to be made in the spirit of public safety, cleanliness, and revitalization. Homeless advocates, though, say they are part of a larger war on homelessness.
Several more laws limiting homeless individuals’ freedom have passed within the past year. Here are some of them
Palm Beach County
- County refuses to serve non-residents
- Lake Worth bans panhandling
- Fort Lauderdale bans panhandling on busy streets
- Fort Lauderdale bans sleeping on public property
- Fort Lauderdale bans feeding the homeless
- Fort Lauderdale bans urinating or defecating outside
- Fort Lauderdale bans leaving belongings on public property
- Hollywood bans panhandling on busy streets
- Hollywood pushes out homeless shelter
- Key West can’t find home for existing shelter
- Dade County reduces historic protections of “life-sustaining” activities