Suitable housing for sex offenders leaving prison is a significant public safety issue facing North Carolina and many other states. As a group, sex offenders are at great risk for homelessness due to the public stigma they carry and the legal restrictions placed upon where they may live. Nearly 16,000 registered sex offenders are currently living in communities across North Carolina.
The Department of Public Safety recognized a longstanding need for temporary housing for sex offenders leaving prison and this year issued a request for proposals (RFP) for organizations to provide short-term sex offender housing in suitable locations. Such housing is designed to provide a 60-day transition period and may be extended up to 90 days maximum, until permanent housing is secured.
In Mecklenburg County, the Bradley-Reid Corporation, an established local provider of re-entry services and services to veterans and people living with HIV/AIDS, responded to the RFP and was awarded a contract to provide transitional housing with six beds for male sex offenders. Bradley-Reid secured letters of support from several community organizations supporting its efforts in creating such housing in Mecklenburg County.
A home on McAlpine Lane provides housing and meals for the residents, with access to public transportation. In addition to an onsite 24-hour house manager, probation officers provide supervision and the residents are subject to curfews and regular drug and alcohol screening.
The location of the transitional home meets the state's legal requirements for sex offender housing and was approved by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department Sex Offender Registry Unit. The NC sex offender registry currently shows 117 registered sex offenders living within a 3-mile radius of this location.
The Department of Public Safety believes that providing safe, structured and supervised housing for sex offenders leaving prison is a much better option for overall public safety than the alternative of sex offenders living in vehicles or becoming homeless on the streets.