The Doe Fund, an organization that helps homeless individuals with job training and opportunities, is suing the the City and the the Department of Homeless Services for turning one its shelters into an “outer-borough warehouse for sex offenders,” Courthouse News Service reports.
The Doe Fund took over the 400-bed shelter on Porter Avenue in East Williamsburg in 2012. The shelter houses homeless, recovering from addiction, and/or formerly incarcerated men who are trying to achieve gainful employment. The city has designated the shelter as a haven for sex offenders due to its somewhat isolated location more than 1000 feet from a school. The Doe Fund does not want sex offenders there, because that would interfere with its primary purpose as a back-to-work program.
“In plain violation of both the explicit terms of the contract and the spirit of the entire contractual scheme, the city has designated the Porter Shelter as a sex offender shelter and demanded that the Doe Fund accept dozens of sex offenders as residents, even though the shelter does not have the beds, the resources, or the expertise to treat them,” the lawsuit reads.
“The Doe Fund cannot fulfill its central mission – to alleviate homelessness through work placement – with sex offenders who, by law, cannot fill its job positions because they cannot clean parks and playgrounds or otherwise go within 1,000 feet of a school,” the suit continues.
A mass relocation of sex offenders from a shelter in Manhattan after one of the residents raped a woman in a nearby bar in April has drawn attention to the fact that the City just doesn’t know what to do with sex offenders, and doesn’t have good options. That relocation is probably a direct antecedent of this lawsuit, since The Doe Fund’s conflict with the city began in April, according to Courthouse News Service.
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