You’re a convicted SO wondering, how do I find housing for sex offenders near me? Searching online for “places that rent to sex offenders near me” won’t often give you a list of apartments for registered persons in the area. So how do you find a place to live?
Finding a place to live as a convicted registered person is hard. But there are steps you can take to laser-focus your housing search and get better results.
Searching For Housing For Sex Offenders Near Me On Google
There’s a slim chance of finding sex offender friendly housing with a basic online search.
When you search for apartments that rent to Sex offenders near me on Google, make sure you give Google access to your location (check your browser’s location settings).
You can also run a search in Google Maps for apartments for sex offenders in your area.
The big problem with this type of search is the results aren’t accurate and usually return listings stating “no sex offenders” or “no SO”.
Other searches you can try are second chance rentals for sex offenders near me, and sex offender housing list (your city).
If searching online doesn’t give you any housing leads, it’s time to try another approach.
How do sex offenders find housing? Let’s explore 6 creative ways registered persons can find apartments to live in.
6 Ways To Find Housing For Sexual Offenders
We’re going to look at six ways to find Sex offender Housing assistance in your area.
- Friends & Family
- Reentry Organizations & SO Treatment Providers
- Sex Offender Registry
- Second Chance Leasing
Ask Friends & Family
Before you search for places that rent to sex offenders, approach your friends, co-workers, and family members and ask if you can live with them.
Always offer to pay rent. The prospect of extra money is a big motivator for most people.
Suggest renting their spare room, basement, or garage loft. If you can afford a used travel trailer (look on Craigslist) ask if you can park your trailer in their yard and have the use of house bathroom facilities.
If no one has a space for you, ask your social circle to ask their friends and family. Offer a finder’s fee to incentivize people to ask around for you.
Benefits of finding a rental through your network:
- Pay less rent (an opportunity to save for a deposit on a home purchase).
- No background check.
- Better neighborhoods than those offering sex offender housing.
Contact Reentry Organizations
Make an appointment with a reentry advisor. Reentry advisors help offenders find employment, housing, education, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, offender support groups, and more.
Housing options they can link you with include sex offender-friendly landlords, rooms in sex offender housing, and shelter accommodation.
To find reentry resources in your local area:
- Contact the United Way helpline at 211.
- Contact Catholic Charities through their website at https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/
- Search online for “reentry organization” or “sex offender reentry” and your city.
- Contact sex offender treatment providers in your area and ask for a list of sex offender-friendly landlords.
Search For Registered Citizen Housing On The Sex Offender Registry
An important resource to explore when you’re searching for housing for sexual offenders is your state’s sex offender registry.
Sex offender registries are accessible to the public, allowing people to find out if dangerous individuals are living in their neighborhoods. If you search your local registry, you’ll see where other registered persons live in your town or city.
Armed with this address information, you can call landlords and find out if they have vacancies.
The Family Watchdog website has national coverage and provides a map-based sex offender search.
To use the site go to https://www.familywatchdog.us/ and enter your search area. You’ll see a map with colored pins. Each pin represents a sex offender living nearby. The map also shows local schools and daycares.
Click on a pin to see the registrant’s address. Family Watchdog uses a color-coded pin system.
- Red – SO convicted of an offense against a child.
- Blue – SO convicted of sexual battery.
- Yellow – SO convicted of rape
- Green – SO convicted of other offenses.
Look at the pins that match your category of a sex offense. A green pin may indicate a minor offense, like public urination, for example. A landlord willing to rent to an SO with a conviction for public urination may not show the same tolerance to an offender convicted of a crime against a child.
Offender addresses could be apartment buildings, rented houses, privately owned houses, relative’s homes, or transitional/halfway house accommodation.
Search the addresses you find on Google or Google Maps to find which ones are apartment buildings. (On Google Maps, use the Layers button so you can see the buildings.) Then contact each landlord to ask about vacancies.
Sometimes an address search will lead to an old listing for a house rental showing the contact details for the landlord. Call and ask about their other rentals.
Use A Second Chance Apartment Finder
Second chance apartment finders work with renters who can’t pass a standard background check because of their:
- Credit history
- Rental history
- Criminal history
Some second-change leasing agents only help with credit or eviction issues, while others accept renters with convictions. When you contact a second chance apartment finder, make sure they work with registered citizens.
If they have sex offender-friendly landlords or no background check landlords in their database, they’ll give you the landlord’s contact details.
Some second-chance leasing agents work on commission (the landlord pays them) others charge a fee for their service.
Search online for second chance apartment finder or second chance leasing (your city). If you can’t find a second-chance apartment finder in your area, a regular real estate agent may be able to help you. Call around until you find one willing to help you.
Ask For Sex Offender Housing Leads On Reddit
Reddit is the largest discussion network in the world. Discussion groups are called subreddits.
The two subreddits you need to check are the sex offender subreddit and the subreddit for your town or city.
Create an account, then head to the sex offender support group at https://www.reddit.com/r/SexOffenderSupport/
Enter housing and your city into the search bar. Look through the discussion threads and see which apartments, landlords, and property management companies have already been suggested.
Use the create post button to make your own discussion thread asking for advice about finding sex offender housing in your city.
Give your post a title, something like “looking for places that rent to SO near me in (your city)” Check for responses a couple of times a day.
Next, move on to the subreddit for your city (or nearest city) and create a post. You’ll need to state you’re a registered SO looking for a place to rent or a roomshare.
Look For Rentals On Craigslist
Craigslist is a classified ads website. Each city has its own Craigslist site. Find yours at https://www.craigslist.org/about/sites#US
Landlords advertising on Craigslist are often willing to consider renters with criminal backgrounds. Some won’t ask for a background check, others will. If a background check is required, be upfront about your sex offender status. It’s better to get a rejection over the phone or email before you pay for a background check.
Go to the housing section. Look at listings for apartments, houses, room shares, long-stay motels, and sublets. Use the filters to set your search area and price range.
If your state has proximity restrictions, check addresses on Google Maps to make sure the rental isn’t close to a school, daycare, or other children’s facility.
With Craigslist you could get a positive response from the first landlord you contact or you may need to contact 100 landlords.
Don’t get discouraged by rejections or insults. Keep contacting landlords and check for new listings twice a day.
Know The Sex Offender Housing Restrictions In Your State
As a registered sex offender, you must comply with the housing restrictions in your state and municipality.
Low-Income Housing Programs Ban
A major restriction you’ll face if you’re a lifetime registrant is being excluded from federally funded public housing and the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Some state laws also bar non-lifetime registrants from low-income housing programs.
Many states and hundreds of cities and towns restrict where SO can live.
In areas with restrictions, all, or certain categories of registrants, are forbidden from living in close proximity to schools, daycare centers, parks, and playgrounds. The definition of close proximity varies from state to state.
In states with proximity restrictions, finding housing for SO is very difficult.
- You need to find landlords willing to rent to you despite your sex offender status.
- You must make sure the rental doesn’t violate proximity restrictions.
Beyond state laws, some municipalities have extra local exclusion zones prohibiting ex-offenders from living near churches, movie theaters, libraries, tourist attractions, and other recreational facilities.
Check with an official at your local registry to get the full restrictions for your area. The guidelines listed below are for general information purposes only. Some restrictions only apply to ex-offenders with offenses against minors.
States With Lenient SO Housing Restrictions
These states require registered persons to live at least 300 to 750 feet away from places where children gather.
- Maine (1)
- Nebraska (2)
- North Dakota (3)
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Texas (2)
(1) Only applies to parole and probation.
(2) Cities may have local laws imposing limits on sexual predators, but no statewide residency restrictions exist.
(3) High-risk offenders only.
States With A 1000-foot Registrant Housing Restriction
- Connecticut (1)
- New York (1)
- Nevada (2)
- North Carolina
- Pennsylvania (1)
- South Carolina
- Washington (1)
- West Virginia (1)
(1) Only applies to parole and probation.
(2) Only applies to tier 3 offenders on parole or probation.
States With The Biggest Housing Restrictions For Registered Persons
In Wisconsin, serious ex-offenders on parole cannot live within 1,500 feet of schools or other children’s areas.
Housing as a Registered Person must be at least 2000 feet from schools and other children’s areas in:
- Arkansas (1)
- California (2)
(1) Restrictions only apply to level 3 and 4 sex offenders.
(2) Probation or parole conditions may limit where serious ex-offenders and high-risk sex offenders can live.
In Mississippi, the restriction extends to 3,000 feet.
With over 750,000 registered persons in the U.S. the demand for sex offender housing is high.
Registered persons face legal restrictions and social stigma. Both make finding housing difficult.
Always try to find a place to live through your social network first. Then move on to other options. You may need to contact hundreds of rentals before you find a landlord that approves you.
If you’re a lifetime registrant, you’ll always face difficulties renting. Your best option for the future is to buy your own place.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.