Testimony: Randall Oelze

It can be argued that everyone deserves a second chance. But too often, those saddled with the label and stigma of a “sex offense” never get that chance. They are left to fend for themselves amid debilitating laws once their prison sentences have been served. This was not going to be the case with me.

Or so I thought.

Throughout the majority of my sentence I believed that I would be able to again live in the home that I owned in Miami, and even go back to my former job with our law firm. I was fortunate in this regard and also had the support of my family and friends. What I didn’t realize was that the onerous and prohibitive housing restrictions I had read about for years were about to affect me as well.

Just before I was scheduled to be released, I learn that both my house in Miami and my sister’s residence in Palm Beach Gardens were deemed out of bounds for me. According to their respective ordinances, I would not be permitted to live at either location. One home was disqualified for its proximity to a park, and the other ruled out because of its nearness to a bus stop. Pretty much overnight my options had all but dried up.

Suddenly, my best chance to relocate and re-assimilate into society was gone. To make things worse, I had been made aware of how horribly my home county of Miami-Date was dealing with sex offenders. The authorities there were placing hundreds of these individuals in an impromptu “homeless camp” next to the railroad tracks in a particularly bad section of town, out in the open without electricity, running water or any form of shelter from the elements.

As I considered any remaining options, it became more and more obvious that I would not be able to live in any location that I had hoped to. Furthermore, with Miami-Dade’ extremely restrictive ordinances, it was highly unlikely that I’d be able to find housing anywhere in the entire county where I had lived and worked most of my life. I was out of options, needing a break, and needing it immediately.

Understanding my plight, my release officer recommended a place that I could stay, one that I had heard of before – Matthew 25 Ministries. He advised me that this was a good spot for me to “land”, somewhere I’d be welcome and place that I could begin to plan for my future. Had I not been able to come here directly from prison, I shudder to think where I’d be now.

And although I don’t plan to be here forever, I’m extremely thankful that I had this opportunity. I, like so many people here, have been given a second chance to succeed. I’m grateful to some very special people who have helped facilitate this springboard for me and the others who also need it.

I plan to honor this gift of a second chance by making the absolute best of it.

Thank you for what you have done to give all of us the second chance of Matthew 25 Ministries – Where All Things Are Possible. God bless!