Sex offenders booted from house deemed not in compliance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four registered sex offenders were evicted from a Westside home Monday after code enforcement officers told them the house they were living in was not in compliance.

"Most people in Jacksonville don't see what sex offenders go through. Everything you see on TV is negative, but not all sex offenders are preying on children," said one sex offender evicted from the house who didn't want to be identified.

He said the city is making it harder for him and other offenders to get back on their feet. Since his release from prison in September, he's been living at the house, along with six other sex offenders who pay $600 a month each.

He said he called the code compliance office Monday morning to report a problem with the plumbing and the electricity. Instead, when officers walked in the door, their attention was drawn to something else.

"The first thing he said when he came in is he said there are too many people living in the house, the square footage isn't correct, and they'll have to get some of the people out of the house," the evictee said.

He said the places where sex offenders can live are limited in Jacksonville, and he thinks more programs should be in place to help. Code enforcement officers at the housing facility wouldn't comment Monday about the decision to evict, but instead issued us a statement.

They said the occupants were given a citation for illegal rooming inside the house and have 30 days to correct the problem. No more than five unrelated people can live in a single family house.

Code compliance officers said it's not their responsibility to relocate the occupants, only to make sure that the house is safe.

The evictee said the decision has only created more challenges for him in a society that's quick to judge and slow to forgive.

"I'm trying to get my life back together and so are offenders, but the city ordinances and housing predators are making it that much harder," he said.

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