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Miami Commissioners Pass Ordinance Banning Homeless Encampments

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- City of Miami commissioners passed a resolution that makes homeless encampments illegal.

The resolution passed 4 to 1. Commissioner Ken Russell was the only person who voted against it.

The ordinance prohibits encampments or temporary housing structures such as tents, on public property and in entryways.

It gives police the authority to give violators written warnings and instruct them to go to a shelter. Those who refused could be arrested.

The new push comes as the homeless population in South Florida sees a notable uptick.

Dozens of people rallied outside of Miami City Hall to protest the new ordinance.

"I am a United States veteran, and I am ashamed of America," said Karen, a homeless woman.

"We are being attacked every day by the homeless people. Miami has a huge homeless population issue," said one woman addressing Commissioners.

Proponents say the ordinance criminalizes homelessness.

"Criminalization doesn't work. It costs too much money and scatters people around," said Matt Marr, a Professor of Sociology at FIU who's studied homelessness for years.

He says on any given day there are between 3,000 and 4,000 homeless people in Miami-Dade County.

The measure defines "encampments" as the presence of any tent or temporary living structure for human habitation, people using heating devices such as camping stoves, grills or heaters and/or the "unauthorized accumulation of personal property," of up to three cubic feet.

"I am strongly against the criminalization of homelessness," says Gabby Cordell with the Choose Love Foundation.

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