KENT — The city of Kent has notified 10 group homes housing registered sex offenders that they have until the end of the July to get many of them out.
Eddie Weber manages six of the 10 group homes. He said Thursday he got a notice in May that too many sex offenders were living in his properties. He is now facing having to release 50 sex offenders into the streets
“Grossly unfair, just bad policy,” Weber said.
He added that he has been running clean and sober homes for years like the one on Bridges Avenue South that currently houses 14 sex offenders.
“They just changed the definition (on group homes); you are no longer a clean and sober home, you are a group home — so move,” Weber said.
An attorney for the city of Kent declined to go on camera to explain the city’s side. The attorney did, however, say it was a zoning issue and that they granted extensions allowing the sex offenders’ time to find new homes.
“I went door to door almost five days a week, and the VA was trying to get me places, but when they find out I am a sex offender, no one wants me,” said Arthur Hamelin, a Level 3 sex offender.
Hamelin said he will be homeless in the next six days. And he admitted that instability could make him dangerous.
“I would say so, because here I have more structure. I attend classes once a week. I go to AA. I work around here. I’m always busy,” said Hamelin.
Some say the public is safer with sex offenders living together than having the ex-convicts roaming the streets, while others say too many of them in one home is simply dangerous for the neighborhood.
“It’s not the best scenario. It’s not someone going out of work release, it’s completely different,” said neighbor David Lopez.
Weber said his homes are the lesser of two evils.
“I hope the community recognizes that it is more dangerous to have these people at large run amok,” Weber said.
Weber hired an attorney to challenge the city’s ruling.
The sex offenders have until July 31 to move out. If they do not, the owners of the homes will face steep fines.