A northeast Queens lawmaker wants the state to pass legislation in a continuing effort to bring transparency to communities with incoming homeless shelters.
Councilman Paul Vallone announced that he would be drafting a resolution calling on the state to pass a law requiring the disclosure of sex offenders housed in homeless shelters.
According to Vallone’s office, registered sex offenders must complete a “long list” of reporting and registration requirements before the community is made aware of their presence. The requirements are even more stringent for “level 3” sex offenders who are considered “high risk” of committing another sex crime.
Current state social services law restricts a social services agency from divulging that a sex offender is being housed in a “transient” or temporary homeless shelter like the one proposed for College Point.
“If the city brings a homeless shelter with over 200 transient men to any community, then those residents must be able to know if there is registered sex offender at that location. The proposed site in College Point, a result of profit hunting and failed policies, continues to show why it is a clear threat to the safety of over 3,000 students and the quality of life of the community at large. Whether you’re placing a registered sex offender in our communities for one year, or even one day, then we have a right to know,” Vallone said.
The state Assembly and Senate passed legislation in 2007 that would have closed loopholes for sex offenders to retain confidentiality when living in temporary shelters, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Eliot Spitzer who cited “privacy and implementation concerns.”
“This is not a privacy issue; it is a safety issue and there is no reason that sex offenders should be living within close proximity to a school,” Vallone said. “The state must expand restrictions on sex offenders living within a few blocks of schools.”