A recent report has found that many high-level sex offenders are living in federally subsidized housing, and Senator Charles Schumer is calling for the enforcement of a 1997 federal law that would correct this.
“When it comes to safety of our residents we cannot cut corners, but unfortunately the previous [Housing and Urban Development] administration did not do nearly enough to root out sex offenders from enjoying the benefits of subsidized housing,” Schumer said.
The report, which was released by the Office of the Inspector General, found that 3,046 sex offenders are living in federally subsidized housing.
There are a total of 1,121 sex offenders currently living in Queens, according to a press release from Schumer’s office. This includes those with a low, moderate or high risk of repeating the offense and those whose risk level still has to be determined.
Schumer is urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to enforce a law that Congress passed in 1997 that “denies these dangerous lifetime sex offenders from receiving rental assistance,” according to a press release.
“This law was enacted to ensure that HUD-subsidized housing is safe for families and children, and that sex offenders were not provided with taxpayer funded housing,” Schumer said. “There is no reason why this rule should not be enforced fully and accurately. I am calling on the new HUD administration to wipe the slate clean and improve the enforcement of these rules and pushing them to bring an end to these lax policies once and for all.”
There are three steps that Schumer said HUD should take to help address this problem. First of all, he said a standardized system should be created to conduct background checks.
Secondly, he said that HUD should “recheck current housing residents against the publicly available national sex offender website at recertification.”
Finally, Schumer said that legislation should be created that would give HUD the authority needed to better enforce the law.