The new men's shelter if located at the corner of Homestead and MLK would exclude registered sex offenders from both it's emergency and transitional programs. North Carolina law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a childcare facility and the proposed site would have three childcare facilities within 1,000 feet. That's about 200 kids daily within 1,000 feet and doesn’t count kids who attend church programs and the hundreds of kids who play soccer at Homestead Park.
Social stigmas combined with residency restrictions have created an unintended consequence for sex offenders, homelessness. Homeless camps for sex offenders are a growing concern, see any of the CNN, NBC, USA Today or Time stories below.
WCHL published an article about this issue. In this article, IFC attempts to say that there are no homeless sex offenders in Orange County, despite the fact that the video shows testimony from IFC admitting that they had 2 sex offenders staying at the time of the testimony and despite the fact that one man went to jail in February because he could not find shelter in Orange County ("Homeless man, sex offender, now has address: Prison").
The chart shows 80% of registration violations occurred the current shelter address. This means homeless offenders use the current shelter and do need a place to stay in Chapel Hill. IFC asks for, but does not require identification for men staying on white flag nights (Listen)
Violent offenders who have a high rate of recidivism may stay at the shelter on cold nights - white flag nights - because on emergency nights the intake process cannot check the criminal history of everyone staying at the shelter. The proposed location would bring them into our neighborhoods, near childcare facilities and the park.
Non-violent offenders, who perhaps as young men ran afoul of the law by dating a young woman are also subject to the same residency restrictions. They cannot use the shelter on emergency nights or participate in the transitional program.
These exclusions are disturbing from a social justice standpoint as they discriminate against a needful constituency and create bad public policy by increasing safety issues for our neighborhoods.
ABC News recently ran the following story: Loophole Allows Sex Offenders To Move To North Carolina Without Registering
A registry violation is when a offender does not register their current address with the Sheriff's Dept. or update a new address.
The North Carolina Sex Offender & Public Protection Registration Programs guide details residential living restrictions for offenders at: NC Sex Offender Registry
Homelessness among sex offenders throughout the nation is on the rise according to media reports.
Florida housing sex offenders under bridge (CNN)
Homeless sex offenders ordered out of woods (MSNBC)
Many sex offenders are often homeless (USA Today)
A Law for the Sex Offenders Under a Miami Bridge (Time)