Fort Lauderdale city commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to relax the city’s residency restrictions on sex offenders.
Offenders will now be allowed to live close to bus stops but they are still barred from living within 1,400 feet of a school, daycare and other places children gather.
The change will expand the available housing for convicted offenders from 1.4% of the city to 15.3%. It also brings Fort Lauderdale more in line with Florida state law.
Dr. Amy Miller praised the ordinance as “an absolutely phenomenal step,” to change a “really grim” situation. Miller is the clinical director at OBMAR Counseling, a Fort Lauderdale organization that serves as an approved provider for sex offender treatment.
Harsh restrictions regarding where sex offenders live can cause them to become and remain homeless, Miller said. That can threaten their overall stability and jeopardize their treatment.