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State lawmakers’ report finds sex offenders living in family shelters

homeless
THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

About 10 sex offenders are currently residing in family homeless shelters across New York City, including three in Queens shelters, according to a new report by members of the state Senate.

The report comes on the heels of the discovery this week of another sex offender who was living in the Westway family shelter in East Elmhurst. He was moved out of the facility quickly on Thursday after local officials and residents complained to the city.

“Clearly these miscreants who have harmed children should never be allowed into family shelters. The city must protect our most vulnerable by ensuring shelters are safe and not create more horrifying and stressful situations when families are trying to reshape their lives,” said state Senator Leroy Comrie during a press conference Friday outside the Lincoln Atlantic homeless shelter for families at 90-35 Van Wyck Expy.

Comrie joined state Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx, who conducted the report detailing instances of sex offenders being housed in family shelters over the past seven years. Klein proposed legislation passed by the Senate to bar such placements.

Comrie, Klein and state Sen. James Sanders called on the state Assembly on Friday to pass similar legislation.

City officials have already proposed changes to prevent the future placement of level 2 or 3 sex offenders in shelters housing families with children and, instead, divert them to the single adult shelter system.

“DHS takes safety concerns in its shelters very seriously and, within its legal obligation to provide shelter to anyone in need, is moving forward with proposed policy changes regarding sex offenders in shelters housing families with children.”

If the bill is passed in the Assembly and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, it would prohibit level 2 and level 3 sex offenders from being housed in family shelters and would require, by law, that they be placed in adults-only shelters or shelters without children.

Klein said the city could face cuts in state funding for homeless services if it did not comply with the legislation, should it be passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor.

Along with the Lincoln Atlantic shelter in Queens, the other two family homeless shelters that house a sexual predator according to the Senate report, are Park Family Residence and Belt Park Family Center, both in Jamaica.

If the bill is passed in the Assembly and signed by Cuomo, it would prohibit level 2 and level 3 sex offenders from being housed in family shelters and would require, by law, that they be placed in adults-only shelters or shelters without children.

Klein said the city could face cuts in state funding for homeless services if it did not comply with the legislation, should it be passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor.

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