by Spencer Hibdon

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FLORIDA COALITION TO END HOMELESSNESS – RESPONSE TO THE SUPREME COURT DECISION OF JOHNSON VS. GRANTS PASS

FCEH and its members are problem solvers and solution finders.  We are very disappointed in the Supreme Court Decision of Johnson v Grants Pass because fining or arresting people just for sleeping on the street is not a solution to our housing crisis.
  
According to the Florida 2024 Point in Time count, there are an estimated 31,383 persons experiencing homelessness, including 8,372 elderly and 4,801 children under 18 in our State any given night.  Florida must do a better job providing affordable housing for every Floridian.  In the past 10 years, the State has lost over 3,000 shelter beds and with the increase in rents, more individuals are finding themselves sleeping on the streets simply because they have no other option.   Everyone deserves a safe space to sleep.   
HOUSING with appropriate supportive services is the only solution to homelessness.  Resorting to jailing or ticketing individuals just because they have nowhere to sleep does not solve the problem – it only makes it more difficult to provide effective solutions.
  
We encourage county and municipal leaders to work with their homeless continuum of care to follow best practices in ensuring people experiencing homelessness are provided with long lasting, housing-based solutions.  This includes emergency accommodations that are safe, dignified, and that meet the unique needs of various households experiencing homelessness. 
We encourage law enforcement to work with homeless outreach teams to find solutions, rather than punishing individuals only because they are homeless . Continuums of Care are effectively providing evidence-based strategies such as Housing focused outreach, diversion, rapid rehousing (RRH), and permanent supportive housing (PSH) across Florida. Our data shows that we can solve homelessness.  
Homelessness is a complex problem, but we have the solution.  We continue to implement long lasting, cost effective, and humane responses for those without a home.    Please help us end homelessness.
There are many examples where law enforcement is working with the homeless Continuums of Care and community partners.  The information below is just a sampling of the great partnerships that are happening.