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Miami commissioners pass controversial laws affecting people facing homelessness

Commissioners vote 4-1 in support of ‘adopt-a-homeless’ program, ban on ‘encampments’

Miami commissioners voted 4-1 on Thursday in favor of a resolution to establish the “adopt-a-homeless” program and an ordinance to ban “homeless encampments.”

MIAMI – Miami commissioners voted 4-1 on Thursday in favor of a resolution to establish the “adopt-a-homeless” program and an ordinance to ban “encampments.”

Commissioner Joe Carollo, who is running for reelection on Nov. 2, proposed the resolution to start the process of allowing Miami residents to provide housing in exchange for “reimbursements.”

With the program’s resolution, the commissioners are tasking the city manager to establish the program “at no cost to the city” by finding “grants from the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust” or other agencies.

Carollo’s proposal was born out of a discussion on Oct. 14 about his effort to ban encampments on public property through an ordinance. In a sarcastic tone, Carollo taunted the critics.

“How many of you, raise your hands, want to adopt the homeless?”

Carollo then ordered the city clerk to make a list of the volunteers, so that they can give “all the care, the love, the humane treatment that they want.”

Carollo’s efforts have prompted the advocates of people who are experiencing homelessness in Miami to organize rallies and protests against “criminalizing homelessness.”

Commissioners Manolo Reyes, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, and Jeffrey Watson voted in favor of Carollo’s resolutions.

Commissioner Ken Russell, who is campaigning to run for the U.S. Senate Democratic primary in 2022, has been the only dissenting vote and said he is in favor of more public housing.

Advocates of people who are experiencing homelessness in Miami protest on Oct. 14 outside City Hall in Coconut Grove.

Commissioners passed two new city laws on Thursday’s agenda:

ORDINANCE: First reading on Oct. 14 and second reading on Oct. 28: The “ban on encampments on public property” — along with penalties — will be added to the already existing city code. This is the resolution advocates said criminalizes homelessness.

RESOLUTION: Oct. 28: The “adopt-a-homeless person” resolution tasks the city manager with having to come up with an assistance program to provide financial aid to homeowners who are willing to shelter someone.

Afternoon report

Miami commissioners voted 4-1 in support of the controversial "adopt-a-homeless" program to get rid of homeless who are camping in the streets and parks of Miami.

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

Alex Finnie joined the Local 10 News team in May 2018. South Florida is home! She was raised in Miami and attended the Cushman School and New World School of the Arts for high school.