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Sep 21, 2010 5:47 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Schneiderman: End in sight for homeless sex offender trailers in Riverside and Westhampton

Sep 21, 2010 5:47 PM

Two trailers in Southampton Town that have housed almost all of the homeless sex offenders in Suffolk County for the last three years will soon be closed and replaced by a new housing program that will spread the burden throughout the county, according to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.

Mr. Schneiderman said he and his fellow legislators managed last week to override a veto by County Executive Steve Levy and preserve an October 15 deadline for the county to start the new housing program to replace the trailers, which are located in Westhampton and Riverside.

“We’ve lived with this long enough,” said Mr. Schneiderman, who has fought to shed the burden of housing all the homeless sex offenders in his district. “It’s time for them to figure out another way.”

In August, Mr. Levy vetoed a bill by Mr. Schneiderman that mandated the County Department of Social Services put a new housing program into effect by October 15. The legislature overrode that veto in a 12-to-6 vote last Thursday. The support of two-thirds of the County Legislature is needed to override a veto.

The new program is subject to a set of guidelines by the legislature. No more than six homeless sex offenders will be allowed to stay in any one shelter, and no more than one shelter will be located in any one of Suffolk County’s 10 towns or 18 legislative districts. So far, one proposal is being considered for the new housing program. A White Plains company called Community Housing Innovations Inc., has proposed to run the program for the county, and would not make the locations of the new shelters public until 30 days after they are established, according to Gregory Blass, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services.

On Tuesday, Mr. Blass said he will seek some sort of “green light” from the legislature before he implements the Community Housing Innovations plan.

“That provider and this department cannot proceed with the plan that we have submitted until we have legislative approval or rejection of that plan,” he said, adding that he is planning on meeting with lawmakers before their next session on October 12. He said he wants legislators to endorse the plan before he implements it because it could be more expensive than the current trailer program, which costs about $1 million annually, and it carries the potentially controversial aspect of not announcing shelter locations before they are established—two elements that the legislature did not include in its guidelines of the new program.

The current plan costs about $90 per homeless sex offender per day to run. The Community Housing Innovations program could cost between $150 and $200 per individual per day, Mr. Blass estimated.

In the Community Housing Innovations proposal, the shelters will be monitored around the clock and the sex offenders will receive rehabilitative services, requiring a larger staff and more money, Mr. Blass said.

In an interview on Monday, Mr. Schneiderman highlighted the difficulty of securing the 12 votes needed for the override. Ten legislators voted for his original bill that set the deadline, so he needed to convince two others to change their positions by the vote last Thursday. In the end, Vivian Viloria-Fisher of Setauket and DuWayne Gregory of Amityville voted for the override, even though they did not support the original bill, Mr. Schneiderman said.

“Believe me, I have been lobbying extensively for support on this veto override,” he said. “I personally talked to every legislator and tried to get them to see if the role was reversed, and they were the ones getting dumped on.”

Mr. Schneiderman said the other legislators benefit by having all of the homeless sex offenders housed outside their districts, on the East End. A new plan would spread the burden throughout Suffolk County and, potentially, into their districts, making it a tough sell.

The County Legislature has been at odds with Mr. Levy and his administration over how to house the homeless sex offenders, who typically number between 15 and 35, according to Mr. Blass. Early this year, Mr. Levy tried to replace the trailers with a voucher program that provided the sex offenders with $90 per day to find their own housing, but the legislature pulled funding from the initiative in April, and ordered the Department of Social Services to come up with a new plan.

That April bill, introduced by Presiding Officer William Lindsay of Holbrook, did not set a deadline for the implementation of the new program. Mr. Schneiderman’s bill added a deadline of October 15.

One company in addition to Community Housing Innovations has proposed to manage the homeless sex offender housing program for the county, Mr. Blass said, but he added he has not yet considered that proposal because the company, Haven House/Bridges, Inc. of Brentwood, is not on the county’s list of eligible contractors for the project. Haven House/Bridges could become eligible if it applies for a waiver with the county. Its proposal does not differ significantly from the proposal by Community Housing Innovations, Mr. Blass said.

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secret!!!! Blank this - government owes it to us to tell us.
Better not be the Coast Guard Housing at Hampton West - we'll protest - beleive me
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Sep 20, 10 11:24 AM
i have the perfect place. it is called prison!
By fishy (92), East Hampton on Sep 20, 10 12:08 PM
Send them to Texas, where they belong.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 12:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ed Hernandez, the Suffolk County Deputy Director for Social Services, is a former employee of Community Housing Innovations, the lone bidder on this project. Do we have a conflict of interest here?
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Sep 20, 10 12:32 PM
Unfortunately not.... it is SOP.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 11:05 PM
Plum Island? I can't think of a single place where the community won't be furious. Who do you hate in Texas?
By mterry (5), Flanders on Sep 20, 10 12:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
Can somebody remind me again why it's the taxpayers responsibility to house these criminals?
By Sag Native (54), East Hampton on Sep 20, 10 2:17 PM
1 member liked this comment
So we can keep track of them. Would you prefer they be set lose to attack again because no one knows where they are? These programs cost less than prison.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Sep 21, 10 10:27 AM
What this article fails to mention is that these sex offenders are currently getting - $90/day of our money - yes, that's $2,700.00 to spend on ''housing''. If these so called sex-offenders aka rapists, child molesters and assorted miscreants continue to get $2,700.00 per month or $32,400 per year - this is stimulus alright - then who cares where they live. It's a complete work - the real issue is the $$. What is happening to that Mr. Bureaucrat looking for the pat on the back?
By IcanCnovember (15), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 2:29 PM
So what are they doing with the money now if they are living in the trailers?

Internet porn subscriptions? Ice Cream Truck rentals? Trenchcoats?

Are they allowed to pocket it?
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Sep 20, 10 4:50 PM
1 member liked this comment
really they get 90 $ a day ouah I lost it all the last 3 years get homeless for 1 pass 2010 with 10 box on my bank account....constantly look for job and still can't really get bck on my feet and I m not criminal, didn't sink in alcohol and don't do drugs
surviving still !! and really hard to do groceries...anyway I wish to have 90$ a day but I have no help !!!!!!! should I think to get such a status to be helped???? that is really disturbing me
By dlb (21), sag harbor on Sep 20, 10 9:15 PM
They don't get $90 a day if they live in the trailers, that is for the ones who are homeless and don't live in the trailers. It is either or, not both.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 11:03 PM
Just goes to show that the system is a mess - commit a crime (esp. sex offenses) and you get free room and board, 3 meals a day, free medical, oh yes, don't forget free training for some kind of trade to back out in society (unfortunately). Also they can sue the state for mistreatment in prison, etc.

Meanwhile....there are millions of people out of work, losing their homes, no medical benefits, can't afford to put food on the table due to the economy.

By DB1218 (2), Medford on Sep 21, 10 10:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
try learning to write
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Sep 27, 10 8:34 PM
You're right, let's not pay for this in taxes and let sex offenders wander free about and rent rooms in homes, I'm sure that's a much better alternative.
By elfid (2), East Hampton on Sep 20, 10 3:01 PM

Residents keep you eyes on this problem !!!!
Go to familywatchdog.us
By shock (70), whb on Sep 20, 10 4:31 PM
Um, does this happen to be a re-election year for Schneiderman?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 20, 10 4:39 PM
Nope, he ran unopposed in last year's election. I think he genuinely cares about this issue.
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 10:59 PM
Community Housing Innovations (CHI) has proven to be a poor neighbor in Hampton West Estates. The one house they own on Edwards Street was an eyesore until the community hounded Mr. Alex Roberts, CHI's director to fix it up. There tenants were involved in drug use and one of them worked at the CVS on Main Street and stole credit card data from customers - some of you readers may remember this.
I shudder at the thought of CHI handling the placement of sex offenders in our neighborhood. By the ...more
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Sep 20, 10 8:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By IcanCnovember (15), Southampton on Sep 22, 10 12:39 PM
Are they asked to work and maybe provide for themselves? I dont understand the 90 dollars a day
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Sep 22, 10 5:04 PM
They are getting more per day then the average grocery store clerk. If they can't find housing or a job, maybe the trailers should be placed in a correctional facility.
By Sag Native (54), East Hampton on Sep 22, 10 5:27 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Sep 22, 10 8:04 PM
What's with this secret stuff? Why can't they say where these guys are going to go? If we're paying for it, we have a right to know.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Sep 27, 10 8:34 PM
they don't want to give the community time to organize against the plan.
Plain and simple - they want to circumvent local opposition before it starts.
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Sep 29, 10 8:59 AM
They get just over eleven bucks an hour, for an eight hour work day.

Is that before, or after they have to pay taxes on the monies they receive?

I'm betting this is NOT taxable income...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 27, 10 9:00 PM