Relocating Fresno's homeless sex offenders

FRESNO, Calif.

"They" are Fresno's convicted sex offenders, and many of them live in a temporary homeless encampment in Downtown Fresno off of Ventura Street and Santa Fe. But a Fresno couple is on a mission to get them some permanent help.

This is not your ordinary homeless encampment. More than 100 people live here, half are convicted sex offenders on parole.

Some have families but can't live at home. Jessica's Law prevents them from living within 2-thousand feet of children or any park or school.

State parole monies to pay for homeless housing dried up over a year ago, and Fresno's homeless prevention manager says First Steps Home funding won't cover sex offenders.

Greg Barfield said, "It says that this specific population cannot use state and federal money."

Local churches say their hands are also tied, because of liability. But one local couple is stepping up.

Vance Cantu says these homeless sex offenders are like modern day lepers, outcasts of society. But he and his wife Christina have been ministering to this homeless encampment for over a year.

Vance Cantu said, "God has given me a heart for the people. Not only that, it says in his word, that whatever you do to the least of these you've done it to me."

Vance Cantu is now facing what seems like an impossible situation. In a little over three months, this encampment has to go. The city will begin demolition of the Monterey Street Bridge just a few blocks away. All homeless encampments downtown will have to go.

Vance Cantu said, "What was on our heart even before this bridge was coming down was to find them a facility of their own, where they can be safe, where they can be under one housing, where they can worship, where they can pray, where they can have showers."

If Vance Cantu and his wife find a permanent solution to housing homeless sex offenders, 56 other counties across California will want to know how they did it.

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