June 16, 2008 -- Registered sex offenders in homeless shelters in The Bronx and Manhattan are living among families, according to state legislators who want the city to relocate the lawbreakers to singles-only residences.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, the Democratic deputy minority leader, yesterday released a report that found five Level 2 and 3 sex offenders - the most dangerous kind - living in homeless shelters that house families with children.
"I'm not trying to deny anyone their constitutional right to shelter, but I think we need a screening process," Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) said outside the city Department of Homeless Services headquarters in lower Manhattan.
Klein, Sen. Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) and Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn) demanded the agency begin screening all applicants for family shelters and cross-referencing the addresses with those of registered sex offenders.
"We have to make sure that families, specifically our children that are in the family shelter system, are safe and secure," he said.
DHS, which has not received a copy of the report, disputed two of Klein's findings, saying the offenders had left the shelters.
"DHS is governed by a legal mandate under which New York City must provide shelter. That mandate does not identify specific individuals or criteria; rather it extends to all those needing shelter," agency spokeswoman Heather Janik said.