More than a hundred neighbors who live near the Calvary Lutheran homeless shelter say they want sex offender background checks or the shelter must be relocated or shut down, according to newly-released minutes of a meeting held with SHARE and Our Redeemer’s Church last week.
Last month, neighbors were alerted by the Sheriff’s Department that a Level 3 sex offender was staying at the shelter. After learning the news from the neighborhood, SHARE promptly removed the man, who had been previously convicted of child rape. At last week’s meeting, SHARE said the Department of Corrections was supposed to notify them whenever a sex offender registered with an address that matched a shelter. But a neighbor said she spoke with DOC and discovered the process only works when sex offenders notify the DOC that their new residence is a homeless shelter, as they’re required to do. SHARE said it plans to meet with DOC and the Sheriff’s Department to discuss the breakdown in communications and to establish a better system.
In the meantime, SHARE says it’s not accepting any new residents at the Calvary Lutheran homeless shelter until a “new screening protocol” can be put into place. SHARE also said the screener who questioned the sex offender is no longer working with the organization.
According to the meeting minutes, 146 neighbors in Loyal Heights signed a petition that asked that SHARE begin screening for sex offenders or the shelter should be shut down or relocated. A survey of 78 neighbors found that 96% want a sex offender check. SHARE has refused to conduct sex offender checks as part of the new resident screening — relying instead on the DOC notifications — but they left open the possibility of revisiting the idea.
Neighbors said they want to hear back from SHARE and Our Redeemers by October 8th, but both said that date was too early to come to an agreement on a new entry screening protocol. We’ll keep you updated.