This was supposed to be a "safe zone" for the homeless. It was created after a landmark 1992 Pottinger v. City of Miami ruling that advised authorities in the following way :
Authorities were told to halt minor arrests for "life-sustaining" activities such as bathing, Police Response to Homelessness 3 The Fort Lauderdale Model sleeping, relieving themselves, and sleeping and create "safe zones". Police management sought to avoid such problems that befell neighboring Miami while City officials created its own safe zone.
It faced some challenges from it's onset:
The City of Fort Lauderdale created what became know as "Tent City." Four tents were erected in a downtown parking lot. Showers, restrooms, and feedings were provided. Tent City attracted the homeless from all over Broward County. Although a safe zone had been provided for the homeless, it quickly became clear that a new set of problems had developed. Criminal activities involving drugs, alcohol and disturbances became commonplace at Tent City. In addition to these new problems, Tent City was not cost effective for the City. Tent City cost the City of Fort Lauderdale $25,000 a month for trash collection, bathrooms, cleaning, security and showers.