SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – House Bill 545 went into effect at the beginning of 2023 and there’s already some pushback from lawmakers and organizations.

Representative Crystal Quade filed to repeal the bill on Jan. 3. The bill which is now law makes it a crime for homeless people to sleep or camp on state-owned property.

“It’s something that we need to get some clarity on,” Community Partnership of the Ozarks Director of Homeless Services Adam Bodendieck said. “The last thing that we want to see is somebody who is trying to move from unsheltered homelessness into permanent housing, accumulating additional barriers that make that even harder and harder to break that cycle.”

Bodendieck said this new law is not moving in the right direction. He also wants the bill repealed.

“I don’t think this is going to have a positive impact,” Bodendieck said. “I don’t think it’s going to have a positive impact on those experiencing homelessness. I don’t think it’s going to have a positive impact on communities. I just think it is a misguided approach towards addressing homelessness. I think it runs counter to what data has shown to be best practices in effectively ending homelessness.”

Community Partnership of the Ozarks has several questions regarding how the bill will be enforced, specifically on state-owned property. Springfield Police told Ozarksfirst.com the department will follow the law if faced with a situation that fits.

“Whether it is public and city-owned property or whether it is state property, obviously that becomes something that you want to discuss and make sure you know that people are aware of the fact that there may be some places that are safer to be than others,” Bodendieck said. “If you have convictions on your record because you’ve been unsheltered on state land, for example, that’s an additional barrier that makes it harder to get into housing.”

The law also shares what state funds can be used for with certain requirements.

“We’ve got a lot of programs in our community that provide supportive, permanent housing programs,” Bodendieck said. “If there are funding streams that could potentially be put at risk for reallocation, obviously that’s a big deal.”