Valley couple opens home to sex offenders, neighbors upset

FOX 10's Danielle Miller reports.

- A valley couple is opening their home to registered sex offenders and it's an idea that has many of their neighbors up in arms.

It all started when the couple who started this organization went door-to-door in their new Mesa neighborhood. they were passing out flyers, inviting neighbors to an open house, so they could see what the home was all about and meet some of the men who would be living there.

Some people liked the idea, while others who live in the area say this type of home doesn't belong in their neighborhood.

"Not letting our kids play outside, we're not letting them ride their quads and their bikes," said Carla Jetton, who is one of many people living in the area near McDowell and Sossaman Road upset with the recent move-in.

"There is a bus stop one house away from where that house was built, where kids stand at the bus stop without their parents who've already gone off to work," said Jetton.

Husband and wife Steve and Deborah Schmidt built the home to continue their Christian ministry, Eagles Nest, which is a program that houses registered sex offenders.

"We feel that God called us to start this home," said Deborah.

The couple moved from Pinal County to this home in Maricopa County to make it an easier transition for sex offenders being released.

Three sex offenders currently live in the home.

The Schmidts stay they started their mission in 2012 after seeing how difficult it was for them tto fit back in with society, using all of their money.

"All of us have made mistakes and I don't think there is a single one of us that would want to be identified by that one mistake for our entire life," said Deborah.

Not just any offender can live with them. They must be a Born Again Christian, not use drugs and alcohol and complete an application.

They also keep tabs from inside jail.

"Were they telling us the truth, did they really attend church, were they really involved in bible studies or was that just talk to make us trust them," said Deborah.

The Schmidts are now in the process of getting a permit to stay in the home -- something some neighbors hope gets denied.

"Whatever you take your beliefs are that you're helping sex offenders, it's a business operating without a license and it shouldn't be able to do so until it's approved," said Jetton.

The permit needed for this type of housing to continue is a special use permit. The planning commission will look over this and make a recommendation.  From there, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will review it and either approve or deny the request.  If denied, the Schmidts will no longer be able to operate.  They say if this happens, they will move to continue their mission.




 


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