Homeless Rights Under the Law
• You can't criminalize status, only conduct.
• Homeless residents have a constitutionally protected right to be in city parks or on other city lands of their choosing that are open to the general public.
• A city cannot impose criminal penalties for sitting, sleeping or lying outside on public property on homeless individuals where there is a lack of sufficient homeless shelter space.
• Panhandling/begging is considered speech, which is constitutionally protected.
How to Help or Get Help
• Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898211.
By simply dialing 211, those in need of assistance can be referred and sometimes connected to appropriate agencies and community organizations. The 211 center’s referral specialists receive requests from callers, access databases of resources available from private and public health and human service agencies, match the callers’ needs to available resources, and link or refer them directly to an agency or organization that can help.
• Homeless Leadership Alliance of Pinellas County, pinellashomeless.org.
• Click here for a list of shelters, food pantries and resources.
Life Intervention Focus Team Initiative (LIFT)
Lift is a program the Treasure Island Police Department and Treasure Island Fire Rescue developed to help provide solutions for our community’s most at-risk populations.
• Mental health and mental health emergency services (under the Baker Act)
• Substance abuse treatment programs (connecting with rehabilitation programs and transportation)
• Shelter and homelessness prevention to nonprofits and community organizations positioned to provide solutions, encouragement, and follow-up.