Category Archives: Housing Sex Offenders

Work Group to House Sex Offenders Meeting Minutes – 6/4

Work Group to House People With Sex Offense Histories
June 4, 2014

In attendance:  Ellie Harris, ServiceNet, Richard Hendrick, clinical social worker, Madeline Johnson, Hampden County House of Corrections, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services

Reviewed meeting agenda and content for meeting with housing providers scheduled for 6/11/14. 

Agenda:

  • Training portion – Laurie Guidry, 45 minutes
  • Treatment for people with sex offense histories during and after incarceration – Joe Critelli and Madeline Johnson, Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, 15 minutes
  • Housing provider experience – Rick Wilhite, Ellie Harris, Laurie Smith, ServiceNet
  • Law enforcement perspective – Sgt. Anne McMahon, Northampton Police Department, 10 minutes
  • Discussion, Q&A
  • Next steps, next meeting date

Agreed that it is important to emphasize the low rate of re-offense among this population, point to Rosa Blair’s experience in Springfield (10 years, tenants primarily people with sex offense histories); Fred Smith in Boston, ServiceNet.

Meeting attendees include:

Home City Housing – Ron Cote, insurance person?
HAPHousing – Faith Williams, lawyer?
Valley CDC – Joanne Campbell and a board member
SMOC – Alison Maynard and Matt Castleman

Pamela will follow-up to confirm attendees.

Work group members attending:

Pamela, facilitator
Laurie Guidry, expert
Rick Wilhite, Ellie Harris, Laurie Smith, ServiceNet
Joe Critelli, Madeline Johnson, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Sgt. Anne McMahon, Northampton Police Department
Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services

Brainstormed hand-out for meeting.  Agreed on providing our proposed Network criteria for discussion:

Proposed Criteria for Consideration for Housing Person with Sex Offense History
Available only to single adults seeking individual (non-family) housing

  • On probation and/or parole
  • Attached to services such as sexual abuse, mental health or substance abuse treatment as deemed necessary
  • Committed to living an offense-free life
  • Designated contact person for communicating regarding tenancy, i.e,. a commitment to work with the landlord on any issues that arise

On discussion pertaining to dealing with other tenant reactions:  ServiceNet informs tenants up front that they have a policy of admitting people who may have had sex offenses; does not provide the information in relation to anyone specifically.  Level 3 offenders are in the public realm, so up to other tenants to find out.  Everyone is subject to the same terms of tenancy.

We agreed on the importance of offering support to landlords to manage tenant reactions.  Noted the value of naming the moral, ethical and fairness  issues that are inherent to this housing challenge.  We should also remind landlords to not assume that other tenants would necessarily have a negative reaction.  Richard has found many to be sympathetic.   Of course we need to be prepared for upset and at the ready with interventions.

Ideas to consider further regarding this issue:

  • Designated liaison (per our criteria for admission, for person with sex offense history) could be a resource for other concerned residents?
  • Conduct  a “training” for tenants independent of any individual re: safety awareness, promoting everybody’s well-being.  Look to standing or mandatory tenant meetings as a place to provide that.

Data collection for meeting:  obtain number of registered sex offenders in Hampden and Hampshire Counties.  I will follow-up with Anne (or look in my email file since she provided this number previously) and Madeline will contact Springfield police to obtain Hampden County number.

Measure of success for this meeting:  that there is a declared “next step” after providers bring back information to their executive directors, board members, etc., aiming for a September follow-up meeting.

Agreed that the group would meet next on:

Wed., 7/9, 11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center

Wed., 9/10, 11:00 am, location to be determined

Pamela will be on leave for July and August, but Jay Levy generously agreed to facilitate the July meeting.

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories meeting minutes 1/7/14

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories
January 7, 2013
 
In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Corrections/DOC Re-entry Services, Richard Hendrick, social worker, Sgt. Annie McMahon, Angel Recchia, Franklin County Home Care, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Pamela provided an update on meetings with SMOC and Valley CDC regarding discussion of their policies pertaining to housing sex offenders . Waiting to hear back from both regarding continuing the dialogue on this issue.  Pamela will follow-up next week, as well as follow-up with HAPHousing.
Richard Hendricks is continuing his effort to obtain housing for a man who committed a sex offense a very long time ago and is battling two forms of cancer. He has not had any progress with SMOC but is now in conversation with Easthampton Housing Authority.
Angela Recchia of Franklin County Home Care Corp reported on seeing an increase in the number of seniors coming to them with sex offense histories.  The limited options are a real challenge.
Discussed nursing homes and current case law that prevents nursing homes from imposing an absolute ban on sex offenders; instead must consider case-by-case.
We discussed where we should focus our energies as as committee while we continue on the path of pursuing policy change among housing providers.  We agreed that at our next meeting we will discuss future outreach efforts, e.g., to resume outreach to the faith community or reach out to nursing homes or reach out to residential recovery programs and sober houses. Agreed that we need to embark on a new focus while we continue parallel efforts with housing providers.
Next meeting:
Wednesday, February 12
1 – 2:15 pm
Northampton Senior Center

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories – Minutes 12/3/13

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories
Meeting Minutes
December 3, 2013

In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Corrections/DOC Re-entry; Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Joe Critelli, Hampden County Corrections, Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet, Ellie Harris, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Laurie Smith, ServiceNet

Update on meeting with Valley CDC:

Pamela reported back on her and Laurie Guidry’s meeting with Valley CDC executive director and one board member on 11/26.  It was a very positive conversation, clearly providing them with new information and insight on the issue.  We clarified our expectation of very small steps, surrounded by clear criteria and support services.  They agreed to bring it back to their board for further consideration at their January meeting (December agenda already full).  Will talk again in January.

They were interested in getting a fuller portrait of current housing supply for sex offenders and number of sex offenders in the area.

Reviewed housing stock available to sex offenders and confirmed that for Hampshire/Franklin Counties, ServiceNet is the only housing provider that allows sex offenders (on a case-by-case basis):

In Northampton:
Florence Inn – permanent housing, 12 units.
Hawley Street –  2 bedrooms, including transitional and permanent (but less likely to have sex offenders because of proximity to day care).

Currently housing 3 sex offenders in Northampton.  Tenancies are totally uneventful.
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Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories – Minutes of 10/22/13

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories
October 22, 2013

In attendance: Carl Cignoni, Hampshire Sheriff’s Office and DOC Re-entry Service, Joe Critelli, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Laurie Guidry, Ph.D., MATSA, Ellie Harris, ServiceNet, Richard Hendrick, therapist, Madeline Johnson, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department/AISS, Sgt. Anne McMahon, Northampton Police Department, Wanda Rolon, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Bill Winslow, SMOC

Housing outreach update (for meetings re: discussion of housing policy re: sex offenders):

HAPHousing:  Exchanging messages with Faith Williams, HAP property manager director.  Will keep pursuing!

SMOC:   Richard Hendricks working with Becca Small, SMOC, for a particular individual to get housed.  Offense was 20 years ago.  Early 50’s, suffering from 2 different cancers.  Hopeful this will work.  On a more systematic basis, Pamela still waiting to connect with SMOC administrators (Note:  post meeting, I connected with Allison Maynard of SMOC who is trying to facilitate a meeting for us with housing directors in Framingham – will keep  all posted as soon as I hear more).

Valley CDC:  waiting to hear back from board after their board meeting where they will discuss their readiness to meet with us.  Pamela will follow-up with Joanne.

Update on State Commission on Sex Offender Recidivism:   Laurie Guidry has been nominated to serve on Commission (which among other things will review leveling process – very promising for statewide reform on this issue).  Now at stage of “background criminal check” – a good sign!  Will keep us posted.

Other discussion:

Richard Hendrick working with people with sex offense histories as therapist and housing support; working regularly with Friends of the Homeless and ServiceNet, as well as Rosa in Springfield.

Rosa has been experiencing some challenges with some tenants who are without sufficient support services (probation/parole).  Underscores critical need for this support.  Discussed the need to enlist the “Circles of Support” model which relies on community based support for those who are not on probation.  MATSA/MASOC’s Spring conference (Laurie will keep us posted on dates/offerings) will offer trainings on this model.

Carl Cignoni:  monthly round table that meets to address housing needs of offenders.  Last month, of 22 men, 8 had sex offense histories, but the number went down this month so presumably it was an unusual month in terms of this statistic.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, 12/3, 1-2:15, check Northampton senior center