A Missouri bill that bans sleeping outside is only lacking the signature (or veto) of Governor Mike Parson as it has passed both chambers of the Missouri legislature.
Looking for solutions for the homeless
The bill, if signed, means any individual cannot sleep on state-owned property. It would also allow the state's attorney general to sue local governments that do not enforce this ban. Additionally, it requires local governments to financially support services which would include mental health treatments and short-term housing.
Homeless encampments would be banned and the push for local governments to manage and support the homeless would go into place.
There has been an increase in the number of homeless encampments in Missouri. Republican Senator Holly Thompson Rehder from Cape Girardeau sponsored Senate Bill 1106, which "would create an avenue for nonprofits to use state funding for designated parking or camping areas." (Source.)
'It's a pay for performance funding structure that allows the state to invest in what's working and help us to start moving away from what is not,' Thompson Rehder said.
'To find a lasting good solution to homelessness, we must address the underlying problems to see long-term success,' she added. 'It's certainly an incredible opportunity to be able to get folks into the mental health services that they need.' (Source.)
Public safety and public health concerns
Some people may be intimidated by seeing a row of tents set up near their walkways to the building where they work. And what about waste management? Also, some worry about illegal drug use or increased criminal activity. These are valid concerns, but there also needs to be a helpful and productive solution.
Someone who's experiencing homelessness is experiencing a crisis, be it a mental health crisis, be it a socioeconomic crisis, be it an XYZ crisis, we come to homelessness from a million different paths. (Source.)
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