HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Several residents of a tent camp on Mill Street are expressing their concerns over the forced move to a different location.
Some homeless Huntsville residents have until the end of the week to move as the city works on flood mitigation on Mill Street.
While some may transition to service centers, many won’t or can’t. Instead, they will be moved to another tent camp on Derrick Street, but that presents another problem.
People living at the Mill Street tent camp say there are several residents listed as sex offenders and moving to the new camp on Derrick Street would be in violation of Alabama law.
“Everybody here is afraid of going over there and being arrested because it is not in compliance,” says Lawrence Azbell.
According to Alabama law, adults listed as sex offenders are not allowed within 2,000 feet of any school or childcare facility. The YMCA Downtown Early Childhood Education Center is within that distance of the new camp. Meaning if they are forced to live on Derrick Street, they will be forced into violating state law.
“If we go over there, they can call in the state troopers and get us off that property and put us in jail,” said Momma DJ. “With us not having a place to go, we’ll end up back in prison.”
Momma DJ and Lawrence Azbell are listed on the sex offender registry. While they acknowledge where they stand, they say they want to remain in compliance with the law.
News 19 brought their concerns to the city.
After discussions with representatives from both the Mayor’s Office and Huntsville Police, they tell News 19 that a HPD officer is now working to find a new camp for these individuals, but they don’t currently have a location set in place.
On Monday, it was announced everyone must be out of the camp by the end of the week. With this new problem, Huntsville police say those on the registry will be allowed to stay on Mill Street until they find a more suitable location.