By JAMIE DELIZ
Some members of the Independent Democratic Conference released a report Thursday that claimed to show a large increase of sex offenders living in New York City’s children and family homeless shelters in the last ten years, the highest ever.
“Our legislation is very, very simple,” said State Senator Jeff Klein, spokesman for the renegade group of Democratic Albany lawmakers who caucus separately from their party leaders. “First and foremost, I recognize the law that states that everyone has a right to shelter. But I do believe that a dangerous sexual predator does not have a right to shelter within a family shelter, with kids.”
Compared to 2007, which reported six sex offenders residing in family homeless shelters, there are currently 21 sex offenders living in the city’s approximate-150 shelters this year. Out of the 21, nine reside in the Bronx, five in Manhattan, five in Queens, and two in Brooklyn, the report said.
Klein, Senator Jose Peralta and Senator Marisol Alcantara called for the State Assembly and the Department of Homeless Services to ban registered, convicted sex offenders from living in family shelters and place them in “all-male shelters.
According to a 2017 report from the DHS, 22,908 children reside in shelters per-night, putting them at possible risk of being in contact with a sexual predator.
The proposal has been passed by the Senate numerous times, but the Assembly has shelved it.
“They don’t need to be in a place where they [sex offenders], not only create danger for the families that are there, but also for themselves,” Alcantara said. “They need to be around ‘men shelters’ where they can get the care and the help that they need. They don’t need to be around children.”
Klein urged the DHS to implement the policy.
“The time has come to stop treating our young people in shelters as second-class citizens,” he asserted. “They deserve the same protections. They deserve to live in a homeless shelter with their families and feel secure that there is not a dangerous sexual predator living next door.”
A DHS spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Photo by Jamie Deliz