Kendall Residents Outraged Over Possible Relocation of Sex Offenders

The ACLU of Florida has filed a lawsuit on behalf of those facing forcible eviction

Residents in Kendall took to the streets Sunday afternoon to protest that they don’t want homeless sex offenders living in the area.

“This is unacceptable,” said Juan Chy Mejia, a resident of West Kendall.

The homeless are looking to relocate from an industrial park near Nw Miami-Dade to an area in Kendall.

"What's going through my mind is 'Where am I going to go?" said one sex offender.

"I gotta do what I have to do. I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do," said Mary Nin, who is homeless. 

“It’s beyond concerning,” said Denise Valderrama, a resident of West Kendall. “There’s children, there’s schools. I walk my dog at five in the morning. Now, I’m going to be afraid.”

According to the Homeless Trust, there are more than 277 transient sex offenders registered at the intersection of Northwest 71st Street and 36th Court. Miami-Dade County officials advised them that they had to be out by Sunday. Now, they may have to move to a spot on Kendall Drive and Krome Avenue.

"Where the encampment is right now on Kendall Drive is on private property. If the owner doesn't want them there, they can't stay there," said Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp of Miami-Dade.

“I’m a father and we are all worried about it. Not only because it is dangerous to our community, but because we don’t have to fix the problem. It’s a problem that the state and local government has to fix,” said Mejia.

The sexual predators are not allowed to live within 2,500 feet of a school. The Homeless Trust, along with other agencies, provided support services one last time at the encampment Sunday night, including viable housing options.

"There are housing opportunities here to help them. The Homeless Trust is here to help facilitate not only them getting into housing, but to getting employed," said Ron Book of the Homeless Trust.

On Friday, at an emergency meeting in Kendall, tempers flared as residents voiced their concerns to county commissioner Joe Martinez.

“Today, it’s West Kendall. Tomorrow, it could be Westchester or Sweetwater. That’s not our problem,” said Mejia.

“I don’t want squatters, our crime rate is going to go up, and our houses are going to diminish in value,” said Valderrama.

In a letter provided to NBC 6, it states that they won’t enforce the relocation ordinance until May 10. 

"After tonight, this is it. We told them since August, and we were serious," said Book.

Legal Services of Greater Miami, the Florida Justice Institute and the ACLU of Florida's Greater Miami Chapter have filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to prevent the eviction and arrest of "individuals forced to live in encampment in Hialeah due to onerous residence restrictions."

The lawsuit alleges Miami-Dade County's residence restrictions is unlawful, arguing that those affected have nowhere else to go.

“Since the housing ban lasts for life, many of these people are elderly, infirm, or incapacitated,” said Valerie Jonas, cooperating counsel with the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. “If the hundreds of individuals are banished to the border of the Everglades, they will be forced to live out their lives on the literal margins of society without any cover from the elements."

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