A New Missouri Law Outlaws Camping On Public Land? Yes It’s True
As we are now in the year 2023, there are some new Missouri laws on the books. One in particular is placing local shelters and advocates for the homeless on notice. The law prohibits sleeping or camping outdoors on public property.
The state passed the law over the summer. It contains several provisions about homeless shelters and funding, but local advocates have been concerned with one line in particular within its text.
The statute reads: “This act provides that no person shall be permitted to use state-owned lands for unauthorized sleeping, camping, or long-term shelters. Any violation shall be a Class C misdemeanor; however the first offense shall be a warning with no citation.”
ReStart Inc is an organization based in Kansas City. Facebook page link is HERE. They are a local nonprofit committed to providing housing and supportive services to homeless children. For more than 40 years, they have provided unique programming and services for those less fortunate, including families, and members of the LGBTQ community that deal with homelessness.
Their CEO Stephanie Boyer says that this new law targets those who suffer from homelessness. You can click HERE for her thoughts. Another advocate, Maggie Thomas, is a program director for Metro Lutheran Ministries, said laws that prohibit camping often pile onto the difficulties people many people face when they are applying for housing. Thomas often works on tenant referrals for clients.
We have shelters throughout Missouri, and some of our local shelters may have to be more prepared for 2023, as this law may send more homeless people to their locations. You can click HERE for an article done by KCTV 5 and see how the city of Kansas City may try and handle this situation.
I will be curious to see how this new law affects the people in Sedalia and Warrensburg who unfortunately are homeless.