Judge Approves of Miami's Plan to Strip Homeless of Certain Rights

Categories: News

miami_homeless_credit_emmanuel_flickrcc.jpg
Photo by emmanuel/Flickr CC
Rights extended to homeless people in the City of Miami for years will now be taken away. A federal judge approved of a plan today that will scale back an agreement reached 16 years ago that had allowed homeless in downtown Miami to pitch tents, build fires in parks, and relieve themselves in public.

However, several landmark protections put into place by the Pottinger Agreement will be retained.

See also: Pottinger Settlement: Homeless Lose Rights

Miami City commissioners had sought to scale back several homeless rights now that the identity of downtown Miami has changed in recent years. The American Civil Liberties Union intervened and opposed many of these efforts, but in December the two sides agreed on a modified plan.

The original agreement prevented police from arresting homeless people for performing tasks like sleeping, cooking, bathing, and urinating in public that they couldn't perform elsewhere because they were homeless.

See also: Miami's Homeless Say City Workers Are Stealing Their Stuff

The homeless will still be able to sleep on sidewalks as long as they aren't impeding pedestrians, but can no longer pitch tents. Building fires is now illegal too, as is exposing themselves to use the restroom or clean themselves if they are within a quarter mile of a public restroom.

U.S. Judge Federico Moreno approved of the new agreement today, which was the final step to the city adopting the new policies.

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21 comments
George I'doccupyThat Owen
George I'doccupyThat Owen

They don't really have many. Other cities have those 20 minutes for 25 cents self cleaning ones that auto open on you if you're taking too long. Those are a pretty good option and the ads alone can fund them.

Annalie Basanta
Annalie Basanta

Can someone tell me what consists of a public restroom in Miami? Starbucks are a private company, other companies require a purchase, most parks don't have restrooms and the ones that do close between dusk and dawn.

George I'doccupyThat Owen
George I'doccupyThat Owen

They need help. A lot of them have mental disabilities and refuse to seek help due to various reasons. When I was going out all the time I'd talk to them at places like the corner, will call etc... And most of them are just nice guys who got messed up. Yes there are some really wild ones but they have nothing. Miami should have some sort of program that gives them goods/credit for work or better rehab programs. Everyone judges them off looks but not many people are willing to even say hello to them. Imagine being cast aside because you're sick... For example "don't talk to people with diabetes." Is that right? I know this comment is gonna catch some hate but their lives are hell and they need help. Miami has a heavy Christian population and I see people with cross tattoos and real men love Jesus stickers but not many actually live up to their "beliefs".

Matthew Petersen
Matthew Petersen

I can't understand why we won't let them pitch tents on the beach or in the park after dark, with the understanding that the tents are gone by 7 or 8 the next morning. Just seems like an easy fix.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

"Rich people shouldn't have to see homeless people. We should pretend that the poor do not exist." - any Brazilian/Venezuelan condo owner on Brickell

Christian Gez
Christian Gez

I work with housing homeless people in brand new furnished apartments as part of a new program to end homelessness and many of them are grateful, but a good amount are not and are just waiting for the next handout. All they know is the streets and they don't want any help and just looking to get high. It's an unfortunate reality. I also live in downtown and enough is enough.

Mike Alexander
Mike Alexander

If the city insists on these new changes, then local businesses need to understand they can't turn away people for using the bathroom without buying anything.

Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon
Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon

That's so sad. I read comments on the other article that is listed and they are harsh. They don't seem to care about homeless people and they're calling them "unemployed" and "scum". People become homeless for a variety of reasons. For it to be easier to believe that someone is so lazy that they're homeless rather than looking into economic or social issues that can lead to homelessness is unbelievable. Yes, seeing the homeless in downtown Miami and Miami Beach is unsightly but cutting their rights will not stop the problem. They'll just go elsewhere. I'd love to help with programs that can help them live better. It is so easy to blame them when circumstances often overwhelm people into homelessness; try compassion and see how much better Miami would be if people were happy with shelter, food and water.

Sean Huertas
Sean Huertas

Let them do what they have to do in order to survive. Too many outside yuppies thinking that they can change the urban landscape for the less fortunate shame on you to the commisioners getting influenced by assholes.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Identity of downtown Miami has "changed" in years?! Where exactly? That "skyline" covering overtown from the bay, or as one of your prestigious writers once wrote "remnants of an era that never happened"?!?! Please...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

.


 When Homelessness is Outlawed, only Outlaws will be Homeless.


grantstern
grantstern

Other cities have complete locker room facilities at their larger Intermodal Transit Centers that any traveller (or anyone) can use for a fee - much more than a quarter, but less than $10. 

tehvul
tehvul

Good idea except the problem that will arise will be people who are not homeless will break into them in order to steal the quarters inside. 

grantstern
grantstern

Public parks do in fact have public restrooms.  Owing to the fact that many homeless spend a significant amount of time in these parks.  Isn't it a make sense idea to give a little enforcement capability to the city, to keep these areas cleaner?  


Of course, now it's up to a disreputable bunch of guys with guns to use this new POWER with intelligence and compassion.  Good luck there.

grantstern
grantstern

There's no need to pitch a tent on Miami Beach.  Homeless people just use the Boardwalk from 15th to 45th Streets - or as I like to think of it "The World's Largest Outdoor Homeless Shelter"

grantstern
grantstern

Can you even feign surprise in hearing that comment? 

dmar1121
dmar1121

I agree. I work with the poor as well and unfortunately, downtown miami is a different breed. We're not talking about rich people in brickell complaining. These are people who have harassed people, which was caught on video tape and shown to the court. A friend of mine was punched in the face while minding his own business in the middle of the day. We constantly have them defecating in front of our business while there are bathrooms nearby. I agree that we need to do more to help them as well, but something does need to be done to curb what has been happening downtown.

grantstern
grantstern

I attended high school in downtown Miami 20 years ago, and it's changed, significantly for the better.  Tremendously.  

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