Convicted sex offenders in New York are more likely to be homeless than in the past, and state officials are having a difficult time trying to find housing for these offenders. New York is required to find housing for anyone residing in their state but when it comes to convicted sex offenders, officials cannot always find suitable housing, leaving many to live on the streets.
State officials and homeless advocates have been trying to find a solution to help homeless sex offenders, but they say there is not an easy fix due to state and federal laws restricting where convicted sex offenders can live in New York.
Individuals convicted of sex offenses are required to register as a sex offender under state law. In New York, sex offenders are required to register and notify officials of where they live. Many states, including New York, have passed laws that restrict where sex offenders can reside. Many counties in New York prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of a child care facility, park or school.
These laws were passed to protect and inform the public about convicted sex offenders living in their community. However, the restrictions for where sex offenders can live has made it very difficult for many offenders to find housing and has left many offenders homeless.
Counties in New York are required to find housing for anyone who is homeless, regardless of having a criminal record or not. However, some shelters do not accept convicted sex offenders and officials have started placing sex offenders in motels to keep them off the streets.
Communities that have started placing sex offenders in motels have faced some backlash from residents who do not want sex offenders in their community. However, it is not illegal to have sex offenders place in motels and some have posted signs in front of their motels to notify customers that sex offenders may be present.
The state is hoping that they can find a solution to the high number of homeless sex offenders but there have not been any updates or new plans on housing arrangements for offenders.
Source: Newsday, “NY counties struggle with homeless sex offenders,” May 5, 2013