On Wednesday, November 12, The Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories brought together Western MA housing providers – HAPHousing, Home City Housing, SMOC and Valley CDC – to share information and experience on housing this population. We were joined by Fred Smith, former program director of St. Francis House in Boston, a renowned program for successful housing of sex offenders, who shared his extensive experience and inspiration around both the individuals’ successes as tenants and the community’s acceptance of the program.
The Committee proposed to our housing partners to consider a review of their policies that would move away from an absolute ban on housing sex offenders and instead adopt a case-by-case approach that would be governed by narrowly defined criteria. Please click here to obtain the proposed criteria.
The Network deeply appreciates our housing partners’ time and attention to this difficult issue. Our shared goals are to protect public safety and promote safe, affordable housing for the population in need. We all acknowledged the challenge housing providers frequently face in creating more affordable housing for low-income people and how housing individuals with sex offense histories may add to the challenge. We agreed that while the Network pursues case-by-case consideration among housing providers, we will work together to advocate for state policy change that is data-driven and supports safer communities.