With our deep gratitude

Updated 12/20/19

By Sandy . . . For persons listed on a sexual offense registry, homelessness is sometimes a reality, and the uncertainty of finding emergency shelter or homeless facilities that welcome registrants is even more of a reality.

I have for a week been identifying such places, and, even though I am sure there are more – many more, I hope – I want to give these places a special shout-out and huge thank you for not excluding anyone on the basis of a label and past behaviors.

I was motivated to write this piece when dealing with a situation in West Virginia where a city councilman was criticizing the local mission for taking in those on the registry indiscriminately, even if they were not original residents of the town or county. The Clarksburg Mission in Clarksburg, West Virginia, like NARSOL, recognizes that facilities for the homeless and hopeless who are also registrants are not found on every street corner, and they remain consistent in their dedication to serve anyone in need of their services regardless of their origins or their background. They offer both emergency and longer-term services to all and can accommodate both men and women.

In Kalispell, Montana, the Flathead Warming Center has changed locations and plans to have the new one at Christ Church Episcopal open by Christmas. This is strictly an overnight shelter from cold Montana nights on the street for the homeless needing a place to sleep and a meal. The only requirement for admittance is good behavior while in the center.

In Rockford Illinois, a town already known for its initiatives in reducing homelessness, the Overnight Café serves as an emergency shelter from the weather and sleeping on the street for the homeless. Housed in the SecondFirst Church, the Overnight Café especially welcomes those who have difficulty finding shelter elsewhere, and that includes those listed on sexual offense registries.

The City Walk Urban Mission in Tallahassee, Florida, is a mission dedicated to serving the homeless with what they need for immediate shelter and meals as well as programs designed to help them transition back into society. Their slogan, “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future,” translates into action that recognizes that all people are deserving of redemption and an opportunity to move beyond their past, no matter how serious or harmful it may have been.

Minnesota is known for its frigid winters, and the Union Gospel Mission, serving the homeless in several locations in the Twin Cities, is a blessing to those in need of their services. With temporary shelter facilities for men, women, and families, they also offer services and programs to meet a variety of needs to help the homeless transition back into society. Some of the programs are especially fitting for those with the extra burden of being a registered sexual offender.

Just before publication, I was sent the name of the Promise Mission in Marion, Illinois. Their services appear to include both emergency and temporary type shelter. I have not had time to confirm that they do accept registrants, but this is stated in their program description: “No individual shall be denied help from the Promise Mission.”

And then there is Ohio – the entire state. I have been told that a state law is in place requiring all emergency cold-weather shelters to accept everyone, even registrants, when the temperature reaches a temperature of 40. Again, in spite of copious searches through the Ohio statutes and legislative site, I have been unable to confirm this. If true, Ohio, we commend you. I did find this, which clearly suggests that homeless persons on the registry are welcome in at least some Ohio shelters.

No one deserves to sleep, hungry and freezing, on the streets, and especially not when a shelter or mission is available but has a policy of excluding those on the registry. NARSOL will protest and fight against these exclusionary policies wherever and whenever we are able.

We appreciate so much those of you who are moved to the knowledge that all life has value and that all who seek redemption deserve it. And for those with the generosity of spirit to be part of a shelter or mission outreach program for the homeless and welcome all without discrimination, NARSOL extends to you our sincerest appreciation.

And to everyone….a blessed Christmas, happy holiday, and good new year.

Additionally identified locations: Information on other shelters accepting of registrants will be added as they are verified.

Added 12/20/19 – Meeting Ground in Elkton, MD: This mission runs a comprehensive shelter service for the homeless and does not discriminate against those registered as sexual offenders.

 

 

 

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

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    • #66579 Reply
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      Muriel THOME

      I have been able to visit the City Walk Urban Mission in Tallahassee and it is a lovely location, They have some free bakery goods some days, a very large thrift shop and a meeting room. The family is totally involved with the Florida Action Committee and works diligently on behalf of the registered community in that area.

    • #66582 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      So much homelessness, yet so much profit in the USA. Not exactly the great society going on eh. Nice to read about something non discriminatory.

    • #66586 Reply
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      James

      A great article. It would be great for NARSOL or a similar organization to provide listings of shelters as another service available to its members. The more we support each other, the stronger we become!

    • #66587 Reply
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      Craig

      Room in the Inn in Nashville takes registrants as well.

    • #66595 Reply
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      James Coghill

      I think a nationwide list of those that do and those don’t is in order. You can’t direct effort if you don’t know where it is needed. Also shaming which we are all too familiar with is just as effective when it works the other way. The whole idea of shelters not being available to all in need is so ludicrous it is completely beyond rational support. People in distress don’t ask what race, gender, sexual persuasion or what club you belong to is and neither should the people proving aid.

      The Universe shows its’ true face when it asks for help and we show ours by how we respond. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror only you can do anything about it.

    • #66596 Reply
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      Perry

      Nothing like that’s anywhere in Pennsylvania to my knowledge, so that figures with their Racist, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, HATE MONGERING!

    • #66597 Reply
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      Dennis Pifer

      IAM an svp paroled to City gate mission in coatesville pa. It is operated on donations from churches only. There are several men on the registry here. Its purpose is to bring Christ back into our lives, to give us hope.
      It is my home for now. I am,( as are the others staying here), blessed for a place like this. For the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was trying to violate me. And return me back to state prison for not being able to provide an address where I would be staying at.
      Two weeks here I had a full time job. A few months later I had a vehicle to drive. I have not looked back, only to praise God for the blessing of City Gate and their donors and the director.
      Who looks at the man in front of him.. Not what he used to be.

    • #66590 Reply
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      Jeff

      For me I find it really difficult to find good housing. Everyone released from prison here is considered a level two which the local police department to flyer your neighborhood. Some housing communities want to have nothing to do with that. I have been fortunate to find a place and I am here after 5 years. I like the church above that said everyone deserves redemption and an opportunity to be a productive members of society. I would like to see Narsol provide lists. That would be great.

    • #66602 Reply
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      Lazaro Burgos

      I am one that just bought a home and even then the city of Parma Ohio found a way to have me legally taken out of my home. I have fought all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court and they upheld the decision of me to be kicked out of a my home that I bought a pay for. I did everything correctly and still they legally found a way to do an injustice.

    • #66604 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      I would love to publish such a list. This is how I gathered the names of places for this article. I first Googled every term I could come up with to give me what I wanted, and that was less than successful. I then pleaded on Twitter and on Facebook for names of places. I received five. First I looked at their web pages and was able to identify for two of them from there or from articles about them that they did take registrants. When I contacted each of the remaining three to verify, one responded promptly and favorably, one responded after days and not favorably, and one never responded at all.
      What I am saying is, I would love to publish such a list if someone would give it to me. If someone has the time to spend contacting shelters and missions in every town and city in every state and determining their policy for accepting registrants, and then giving me not only the names but the verification emails or documents — because I won’t write anything until I have verified it for myself — I will happily compile the list and publish. What a great project this would be for someone with a desire to help; nothing needed but a great deal of time and a computer.

    • #66605 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      I’ll check this one out and add it to my article. Thanks, Dennis.

    • #66608 Reply
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      MATTHEW COOPER

      I was considered homeless when i got out of prison and was placed in a half-way house by probation who stated it would help me. it does not and the second i got here (even though i serves my time and a on probation) i had a public safety factor put on me which restricts my moves. i finally found a home but now probation has waited 30 days just to see it and will make me wait till after x-mass to get out of the half-way house and be able to live at my home that i am still paying rent on even though i am not living there.

    • #66611 Reply
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      Lois Finelli

      I feel gratitude too, Sandy. Thanks for recognizing these exceptional places that really do serve the homeless, and the ostracized. There is a song (and album) by musical artist Mary Gauthier called Mercy Now. It’s one everyone should listen to. I wish all of us could strive to abide by its message.

      • #66613 Reply
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        Anonymous

        Thank you Lois. A quick search for “Mary Gauthier Mercy Now” brings up the video. Again, thank you.

    • #66614 Reply
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      Martin Freedberg

      mite want to check Illinois cities……most wont let registrants inside…..maybe a few,but mostly not!……murderers,drunks,domestic violence’s…yes!!…….sex registrants NO!…hate to say it,but even the salvation army shelters don’t!

    • #66616 Reply
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      Alice Benson , Titus House

      A few years ago we picked up a family with small children who had been thrown out of Joy Junction in Albuquerque. They discovered the father was a sex offender about dinner time. We picked up the family and put them in a motel for a couple of nights. We do not promote this function for any sex offenders that we know.

    • #66618 Reply
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      Jerry P

      When I was homeless in Asheville NC the Salvation Army “couldn’t” (wouldn’t) help me because I was on the registry… Every time I walk by a red bucket and bell ringer I remember…

    • #66620 Reply
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      CJ

      One of the recent Digest articles on the NARSOL website reported the Salvation Army, a supposedly Christian based outreach program, has a policy that forbids registrants in their facilities. I had been a regular monthly contributor to the Salvation Army, until I read that. I cancelled my contribution that day and round-file everything they send me now. Christian Indeed!!

    • #66622 Reply
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      Douglas Martinez

      Room In The Inn in Memphis, a separate entity according to the one in Nashville, does not because they allow women with children and a lot of the churches do not want us there because a lot of the volunteers are minors. One guy, a sex offender, tried to molest two girls at one of the churches, so it of course made it worse for the rest of us. But they do not do background checks, so unless you do something stupid, or someone rats you out, they will never find out. Room in the Inn also takes women as priority, leaving men out in the cold most days. The director hates men, so expect to be treated like dirt.

      The only mission that allows sex offenders is the Union Mission and it is a horrible place to be. Bedbugs infested, violent, pastors and supervisors treat you like crap and talk down to you, cook is a horrible man and a worse cook, they have failed several health inspections, caused several cases of food poisoning because they do not rotate the food (food was found to be 2 years old and older and/or molded) and the fridge and freezer work when they want to because they jerry rig everything, no AC during the summer, and you are fed food I would not give my dog or worst enemy in servings fit for a toddler, if that much. It’s $6/night for this privilege or join their “day pass” program where they work you like a dog for no pay sometimes 16 hrs a day or their drug and alcohol program which is worse.

    • #66629 Reply
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      Jarrett Vann

      The Light House Rescue Mission in Idaho may accept registered sex offenders depending on the location. When in 2006, the one in Boise moved from one location to another, one of the conditions of getting the new building was they couldn’t take registered sex offenders. Those that were staying at the old location had to either move out into the cold, or go to one of their other locations. They had one in Nampa ID and I believe one in Twinfalls ID.

      Sadly many veterans that qualify for veteran housing assistance are unable to get it if the are registered sex offenders. The VA often contracts that service out and the contractor is allowed to exclude anyone on the registry. The VA doesn’t have to make other arrangements for them either. I know that this was the case in the Boise Idaho area and maybe the case all over.

    • #66634 Reply
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      Saddles

      All this confusion all because someone wants to control those sexually violent sex offenders on the registry as some label them. One wonders today who is violent. Sure we all get angry and defensive at times. Is it bad behavior or does one take it like a man. Now don’t get me wrong Sandy but women will back bit another in a minute so where is compassion today. Are a lot of authorities abusing their power over another. Sure abuse of power is no good in any situation.

      Are some of those mission directors saying if we allow sex offenders to stay at our missions we might lose funding or other factors, or maybe we won’t get the support we need. Grant you some missions are more caring. Whats the solution. Speaking out with the right tone of voice and humbling oneself or do we can in abolishing this registry, or do all have a behavioral problem at times when something doesn’t go our way. Should we all go that extra mile for true justice or is this sex registry some form of a vigilante type glitch in hehavior. Modern technology is going to fast today and it seems everybody wants push button results and law enforcement doe’t care who they prosecute but their are liminations to everything.

      One wonders who persecutes someone today to try this form of enticement. Yes persecution and proecution are to different issues. Can one hit a baseball without contacting the ball or do we all assume that we are all carnal by nature or should we all have a guardian. None of us would be talking about this sex registry if it didn’t bring precussions to others. Should we all think of others better than ourselves or should we just take from the rich and give to the poor or who is abusing who.

    • #66641 Reply
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      Victor Palma

      Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for all you do for NARSOL and for those of us on that terrible registry, myself included.
      In spite of the registry, I have been successful in my post-prison life. One of my accomplishments is that I am a board member of a non-profit entity in Elkton, MD that caters to taking care of the homeless in Cecil County, MD. After prison, I was a homeless veteran and found, through the Dept of Veterans Affairs, a homeless shelter for men in Elkton. They do not discriminate against anyone who is on the registry. The non profit’s name is Meeting Ground. Meeting Ground did a lot for me to help me get back on my feet and I have been able to give back to this organization by serving on the board of directors. So, you can add Meeting Ground to your list of organizations that do not discriminate against anyone, including those of us on the registry.

      Victor

    • #66647 Reply
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      Ernest B Tucker

      To quote a famous line from a book about socialist governments, “A little revolution is a healthy thing from time to time.”

    • #66648 Reply
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      Ernest B Tucker

      There was a time when men were kind
      When their voices were soft
      And their words inviting
      There was a time when love was blind
      And the world was a song
      And the song was exciting
      There was a time

      Then it all went wrong

      I dreamed a dream in times gone by
      When hope was high and life worth living
      I dreamed, that love would never die
      I dreamed that God would be forgiving
      Then I was young and unafraid
      And dreams were made and used and wasted
      There was no ransom to be paid
      No song unsung, no wine untasted

      But the tigers come at night
      With their voices soft as thunder
      As they tear your hope apart
      As they turn your dream to shame
      He slept a summer by my side
      He filled my days with endless wonder
      He took my childhood in his stride
      But he was gone when autumn came
      And still I dream he’ll come to me
      That we will live the years together
      But there are dreams that cannot be
      And there are storms we cannot weather
      I had a dream my life would be
      So different from this hell I’m living
      So different now from what it seemed
      Now life has killed the dream
      I dreamed

    • #66653 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      Victor, I will definitely check them out, and I would like for you to do something for me; please go to Humans on the Registry on our site and check it out. I think you would be a great applicant.

    • #66657 Reply
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      Muriel THOME

      In Florida, Gainesville has a homeless shelter that accepts registrants , both those on and off probation.
      It is Grace Market Place. They have a veterans dorm, a men’s dorm and a women’s dorm. They provide meals, some clothing, laundry and showers. there is a parking area for those with vehicles. Many have jobs, some have families they visit daily, but have nowhere to live/spend night time hours because of residency restrictions so Grace takes them in.
      The city of Gainesville and the County of Alachua both contribute and share in the funding. It is also a place where, during a hurricane someone NOT on probation can go and find shelter.

    • #66669 Reply
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      w

      This site has been helpful and reading all the comments has helped me stabilize my feelings. I see a lot of pain in people’s stories, if affects me deeply. I have a lot of compassion for people dealing with their situations and I only wish I had the ability to snap a finger and fix this system. One snap and fix people’s lives again. I know how it’s been for my family these last couple years.

      Hang in there with everything you got. Hope is stronger than despair.

    • #75089 Reply
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      Glennbah

      (Awaiting moderation)

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