Facing growing criticism over 70 registered sex offenders living in squalid conditions under a bridge, Miami-Dade officials and homeless advocates say they are working to relocate them to housing, the Miami Herald reports. In the first step, eight camp dwellers will be moved to a private apartment building in coming days, and officials are looking for a bigger place for the remaining people to be housed, said Ronald Book of Miami-Dade’s Homeless Trust, who is leading the effort.
Some of those living under the bridge are skeptical of Book’s latest plan. Homer Barkley, 45, said he would be worried if he lived under the same roof as other sex offenders. “I have done my time for what they said I did. Now I want the chance to lead a normal life,” Barkley said. The encampment primarily houses registered sex offenders, mostly men, who cannot find residences elsewhere. That’s because a host of county and city laws prohibit them from living within 2,500 feet of where children congregate — including schools, parks and day care facilities. “It’s a public safety issue,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle. “They are living in inhumane conditions. It’s not safe for them — and it’s not safe for others.”