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  • Writer's pictureChristian Service Center

As Florida advances camping ban, Orlando’s homeless ask "Where are we supposed to go?"

Updated: Apr 1

By Ryan Gillespie, Orlando Sentinel Reporter (published March 2, 2024)

A power strip is set up on a picnic table for charging devices while individuals wait for services at the Christian Service Center. (Photo: Orlando Sentinel/Rich Pope)

As Florida officials move to ban people from sleeping on public property, Peter Roberts wonders where he’ll be forced to go.

Now he spends daytime hours at the Christian Service Center in Orlando, where he gets meals, toiletries and other services.

But at night when it closes, Roberts, who has been homeless for nearly two years, said sleeping on the sidewalk is his only option in a community lacking sufficient affordable housing and where limited shelter beds are almost always full. His disability check isn’t enough to cover rent for a place of his own, he said.

“It seems like we’re being punished now,” he said when told of the impending ban. “I’ve got to lay down somewhere – I’ve got to sleep.”

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A line to receive lunch forms shortly before noon at Christian Service Center in Downtown Orlando. (Photo: Orlando Sentinel/Rich Pope)

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