Bartow to vote on rules for habitual squatters

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The homeless in Bartow may soon have new rules to follow.

The city is talking about restricting where they can sleep and hang out.

The homeless hang along one of the area’s most popular recreation spots. The van fleet trail, right behind tractor supply.

But Bartow city commissioners have noticed the street people and are trying to do something about them.

Bartow is talking about making two things illegal:

-camping in public places

-sitting or lying on public sidewalks from 7 in the morning until 10 at night

First, the homeless would be warned. If they get caught a second time, they serve time in jail.

“Really, what we’re trying to do is help them,” explained city attorney Sean Parker.

Parker says any time police interact with the homeless, even if it’s to arrest them, it is a chance to try and convince them there are agencies to help them get off the street.

Bartow commissioners plan to vote on the new rules next month.