MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Residents of a homeless sex offender camp near Hialeah will have to pack it up and go.
On Thursday, a judge ruled that the county can begin the clean up process and those in the encampment must leave.
The county had given its resident until Thursday to leave but that was put on hold pending the outcome of the hearing.
In court, representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union argued that they’d be doing more harm than good if they moved the camp’s residents around. The roadside refuge near Northwest 36th Avenue and 71st Street has been there for the last five years.
Attorney for the ACLU, Jeffrey Hearne, also said a sanitary check was done by the county last April and conditions were found to be not that bad. Bathrooms and hand washing stations had been brought in to assist those in the camp. He said if they were forced to move, they would just set up on another street corner.
An attorney for the county countered that if they were allowed to stay their numbers would only grow. Finding a place to live is always a problem for sex offenders, especially if they are homeless. The law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living with within a half mile of a school or park.
The county’s attorney pointed out that those in the encampment had been given 45 days to leave and then given another three-day extension this week. He added that the county has even offered to find them housing.
Hearne said, “My clients are disappointed that the court has allowed the county to close the encampment. We will review our options but because of the difficulty they have in finding housing, they will most likely be relocated to another corner to avoid arrest. New tents will pop up and the cycle will continue.”
The Homeless Trust has offered those forced to move money for rent and help in finding a room or an apartment that is legal. One of the offenders said she applied for housing but it was denied.
“They just told me that I don’t make enough money to get an apartment and I’m like, ‘why did they make me waste my time?’ I know they said they’d help me but they should’ve told me from the beginning so I know where I’m standing,” Mary Nin said.
The county’s sanitation services began cleaning the area and removing some of the porta-potties last Monday.