By Sandy . . . Some members of our society are shadow people, so marginalized that they are hanging on by their fingernails. Some have a slightly firmer grip, but they are perched precariously close to the edge, so close that they can be hurled into the abyss by a mere word, accusation, or click of a mouse.
In Florida colonies of these shadow people survive, sleeping at night in the woods, under bridges, and in railroad yards, and now the man who is almost solely responsible for this is doing his best to take even those places away from them.
Derek Logue, a long time activist and no stranger to marginalization himself, has visited Florida sex offender encampments, taking food, clothes, and basic hygiene items for those living there. He says of the situation, “Homelessness is difficult to overcome in the best of circumstances, but the homeless registrant crisis in Miami is directly tied to the local residency restriction laws. People at the camps are forced to live there because the law restricts registrants from living virtually anywhere in Miami-Dade. Many people otherwise willing and able to find shelter are unable to do so because of the law alone.”
Nor is Florida the only state where stringent residency restriction laws – laws that are unsupported by any evidence — so severely limit housing options for sex offender registrants that cities have seen their homeless population explode. This has been reported in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, and Wisconsin, to name only a few.