This page will cover finding general tips on how to find sex offender housing as well as provide info on specific programs that assist in housing or halfway houses. This page does not address the legalities of residency and housing issues ; those issues are covered in other parts of the Once Fallen website. Even in areas not enforcing residency restrictions, few people are willing to rent to those on the registries, as noted in my own study on obtaining housing in At least 30 states have some form of residency, proximity, and even work restriction law in place, and they are starting to increase with popularity after years without new restrictions.
Also note that those required to register for life are barred from obtaining Section 8 Housing in addition to state laws that may exclude non-lifetime registrants from public housing.
I just won't lie to you and pretend it is a cakewalk Below are a few general tips on finding housing. Here are a few places you might be able to find local housing leads: Churches, community action agencies, homeless shelters or coalitions, and even food banks often have housing lists for low-income agencies, and some may list housing specific to registrants. Local registry offices may have a lead or two.
Many of the lists on the DoC sites are online. Georgia's list is "THOR", for example. If you do a search "sex offender housing [your city]," you might find some lists. Many renters post on Craigslist most won't post they rent to registrants but will post at times that they don't.
What I'd suggest is you wrote down the phone numbers of every place you called because some renters own numerous properties, thus a list will keep you from wasting your time with repeat rejections. I'm not going to post a direct link since I'm not promoting them but I'm sure you can find one online without my help. At any rate, a map may help you TIP 3: They are out there, its just a long, difficult process.
In my previous experience, it took 33 over calls before I found a place that would accept registered citizens in but only 33 calls in Whether that is the result of me having better methods of house hunting or the result of changing attitudes regarding renting to registrants remains to be seen.
If you can't handle the rejection yourself, pay someone you know a few bucks to call them. You have to grow thick skin because some folks won't be cordial while rejecting you. It is better to be up-front about asking if prospective landlords rent to registered citizens than to lie to get in only to be ousted later.
You will be added at that point to a list that will be added to a list that carries an equally bad stigma-- the Eviction registry. If you do contact someone and you have the opportunity to "sell yourself" in the way you would while job hunting, be prepared to do so. As a whole, registered citizens are more likely to keep to themselves, pay rent on time, and complain less than other tenants. Landlords these days may also do credit checks and eviction checks.
You may be expected to pay an application fee. Be prepared to deal with that and if there is a fee involved, get confirmation that you would be given serious consideration.
A five minute call may save you a lot more headache during your house hunt later. However, it is important to remember wherever you find yourself, remember there can be complications even after you've settled in.
It should be a no-brainer, but be sure to register with the Sheriff's office ASAP; don't delay, as many areas have short registration periods.
Let's be honest here-- chances are if a renter will rent to you, he's likely less concerned about his property or the quality of his tenants. If your search is in an urban area, you are more likely to find residence with higher crime and lower standard of living. However, even if you are staying in the Bates Motel, be sure to take good care of your property.
Building a good rapport with the landlord will help you as you often need good references for a new lease. Because of the constantly changing nature of residence restriction laws, I suggest keeping about three month's rent in a savings account.
This applies to those on SSI, the rules to those drawing from the lifetime earnings fall under different rules. You can contact Social Security for specific rules on property and savings issues. I'd also suggest you improve your credit rating. There are many ways to do that, but having a good credit score helps should you need to move in the future. Keep in mind also that there is always the chance that the feds will swing by for compliance checks; under the controversial Adam Walsh Act, the US Marshals have been given jurisdiction in compliance checks I question the constitutionality of that provision.
Remember just because you are on a registry does not mean they can come in and check your residence without a warrant. That being said, "No police agency or even the US Marshals can come into any residence without a warrant, if a person is off of supervision. The only time they can is, if it is an emergency fire, or other such emergency or they hear someone being hurt.
Because cities, counties, and states have differing laws, the best way to find out what laws are applicable in your area is to contact the Sheriff's office in the county you want to move to. Another major problem is states register offenders differently. Once you are raised in Tier levels, it is hard to go back down.
Also, some states do not simply restrict where you live, but restrict who you live with, which is especially important if you are planning on moving to a residence where a minor resides. This applies to any registrant, not always ones with child victims. It should be noted that if you move from one state to another and you are set to be removed from the registry in state A, state B may not honor the end of your home state's registration period.
I received a call, for example, from a man whose registration period expired in Ohio but moved to Florida and was forced to register in Florida. See the 50 state guide link at the top of the page to get a general idea of what each state requires. Remember that some locations, such as Florida, that allow restrictions beyond those the state codes. I've found a few, listed below. I'll post more as I find it, but even after years of doing this, the housing listed below are the only leads I have.
The contact info can be found below. Listing them here does not imply any mutual endorsement, and each program has differing standards regarding admission, fees, and regulations, so contact them directly for more information. If any of these leads are no longer valid, please contact me immediately so we can remain current for others in need.
Simply being listed here is no guarantee of accuracy or quality of service. For more info and on rules and restrictions, find the contact info on each site.
I'm willing to list any leads, be it a program or just an apartment complex or even just a spare room. Many programs are "transitional" or "halfway" houses, some may be temporary shelters, and some may simply be housing referral services that cater to Registered Citizens. Please also note that just because I don't have a state listed, a housing option does not exist in your state.
If you offer housing to registered citizens, or if you know of a program that should be listed here, please contact me and I'll list you free of charge.
I do maintain a separate list for those who wish to stay offline, so contact me to see if I have housing in your area even if your state isn't listed below. Many programs may only accept residents from within the state and in some cases, they only accept residents of specific counties. Please keep that in mind, as many programs are flooded with inquiries due to being posted here.
Box Denver, CO Phone: Florida Action Committee maintains a resource page that may contain housing leads in addition to what I have below: