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Governors DeSantis and Newsom agree on something: They don't want the homeless sleeping in public

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (right).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (left) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (right).Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images; Sergio Flores/AFP via Getty Images
  • GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law criminalizing sleeping on public property in Florida.

  • Likewise, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is also trying to clear encampments in California.

  • It's a rare moment of unity for the two who sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

It's a rare moment of agreement for two state governors who couldn't be more different.

Though Florida and California sit on different ends of the country (and the political spectrum, broadly speaking), their respective governors are equally invested in preventing the homeless from sleeping and camping in public — though they're handling it differently.

Homelessness has been rising in the United States for the better part of the last decade. On a single night in 2023, some 653,104 people were experiencing homelessness nationwide, and over a quarter of those were in California, according to an annual report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law last week that prohibits sleeping and camping on public property. The law also prohibits local governments in the state from trying to work around the legislation.

Speaking at a news conference on March 20, DeSantis said the law would uphold "our commitment to law and order while also ensuring homeless individuals have the resources they need to get back on their feet," West Palm Beach's NBC affiliate WPTV reported.

"Florida will not allow homeless encampments to intrude on its citizens or undermine their quality of life like we see in states like New York and California," DeSantis said.

In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is awaiting a major opinion by the US Supreme Court that could determine how states address the problem of unsheltered homeless. The high court could decide whether clearing homeless camps is unconstitutional when there isn't enough room to house them in shelters.

Newsom filed an amicus brief in the case earlier this month, writing that "lower courts have blocked efforts to clear encampments while micromanaging what qualifies as a suitable offer of shelter."

"Encampments are dangerous — period. California is investing billions to build housing and provide the services needed to get people out of tents and into safer situations. However, our best efforts are being blocked because of sweeping injunctions that delay progress and fail to provide any consistent guidance for local authorities to abide by," Newsom said in a press release about the case.

Arguments for the case are due to begin in late April, according to the Supreme Court docket.

Read the original article on Business Insider