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New Sex Offender Laws Force Julia Tuttle Shutdown

By Kamika Dunlap on March 09, 2010 10:15 AM

Miami-Dade County's new sex offender laws has forced the encampment of homeless sex offenders living under the Julia Tuttle bridge in Miami-Dade to be shutdown.

So, now what?

Some of the homeless sex offenders are on short waiting lists for housing under Miami-Dade County's revised sex-offender law.

As previously discussed, Miami-Dade County officials lawmakers pushed for softer residency restriction laws for convicted sex offenders in order that they may find a place to live.

According to the Miami-Herald, the tents and shacks set up by homeless sex offenders were an eyesore and the encampment was a public embarrassment for local government.

The new ordinance however, keeps a 2,500-foot restriction, but applies it only to schools. It also sets a 300-foot restriction or child-safety zones, which prohibit sex offenders from loitering where children congregate.

Although this new sex offender law has helped with housing options officials say problems remain.

Other groups of homeless sex offenders have been resettled and given grants to help them pay up a few months' rent. They have been relocated to apartments, motels and trailer parks.

Officials say this is only a temporary solution and taxpayers cannot continue foot the bill after six months.

In 2007, homeless sex offenders began living under the Julia Tuttle bridge claiming they were unable to live elsewhere because of stringent sex offender ordinances.

Miami-Dade county officials have said they hope the new law will encourage other states and even U.S. Congress to reexamine and create more uniform residency restriction laws. Officials say laws need to be workable and realistic.

But some homeless sex offenders say it's not the end of Julia Tuttle. They say there will always be places like it and the practice of dumping sex offenders where no one can see them will go on.

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