Sex Offenders Move Out From Under the Bridge

After first being reported by former New Times scribe Isaiah Thomas in 2007, the group of sex offenders who were forced to take up residence under the Julia Tuttle Causeway caused controversy and left a black eye on the city of Miami.

Now, the Miami Herald reports that the makeshift camp is being dismantled as residents are being allowed to move into apartments and other houses with the promise of their first six months of rent being paid.

The sex offenders were forced to live under the bridge when overzealous zoning laws made it illegal for sex offenders to live within 2,500 feet of schools and other places where children congregate.

That left much of Miami-Dade County off-limits, with many of the only places available in higher-income areas. Once released from jail, the sex offenders were told to live under the bridge by the Department of Corrections. Located on an island between the mainland and Miami Beach, it was one of the few places in the city that meets the standards.

In January, the county commission repealed the old laws and replaced them with rules that state registered sex offenders cannot loiter within 300 feet of where children congregate. State laws already state that they can't live within 1,000 feet of those areas.

This week much of the makeshift sheds and living arrangements have been dismantled. The Miami-Dade Homeless Trust has agreed to help move the residents to apartments, motels, and trailer parks with the promise that their first six months of rent will be paid.

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Kyle Munzenrieder