During the long winter months, southern states see a mass influx of homeless “snow birds” who live in in their cars. If the choice is whether to spend cold nights huddling in one’s car in Boston or Buffalo, or to spend them in Orlando or Miami, the choice is pretty easy.
This new winter population is easily noted by law enforcement because they are the ones called out to investigate the unlawful parking, or the questionable loitering of an unknown vehicle in a neighborhood whose residents do not recognize the car.
Sleepy Herd, Inc., recently sat down with law enforcement in Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. In all 3 separate meetings, in their own offices, whether it was Undersheriff Mark Canty of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (Orlando), Lieutenant Rick Rodriguez of the Miami-Dade Police Department, or Officer Daniel McDonald of the Tampa Police Department, the feeling was the same.
They all acknowledged a resource as simple as law enforcement being able to direct those who are homeless and sleeping in their cars a safe place to park. Nearly every police officer at some point in their career has been called upon to investigate the presence of a car parked whose occupant is doing nothing more than sleeping because it is abundantly clear their vehicle is their home.
Rather than tell them to drive away to some unknown location to sleep somewhere else where they hopefully will not be noticed, they agreed a new solution needed to be in their tool-box that would assist these people in their time of need.
Tampa Police Department
Orlando Police Department
Miami Police Department
Gathering the opinion of Florida’s law enforcement as to what is occurring each night on the streets of Florida’s biggest cities is the first step towards trying to get county commissioners, city councils, and mayors to understand that a new solution is being expressly sought by the affected persons on both sides of the dilemma. Talking to the affected homeless population living in their cars, and talking to law enforcement, has been the easy part.