Up to 3,000 lifetime registered sex offenders illegally live in federally subsidized housing, said a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspector general’s study reported by the Associated Press. Congress banned subsidized housing for the most serious sex offenders after a 1997 case when a convicted sex offender was charged with assaulting and molesting a 9-year-old neighbor girl who lived in the same public housing building.
Investigators said HUD failed to meet the law’s objective, in part, because of a lack of monitoring. HUD did not require housing authorities to ask applicants whether any of the prospective residents was subject to a lifetime registration requirement; the department also did not require housing authorities to check a national sex offender registry when it recertifies eligibility of its residents. HUD officials said the rate for improper admissions was extremely small when compared to more than 4 million admissions into subsidized housing. HUD officials put the error rate at between .03 percent and .04 percent. Nevertheless, will remind public housing authorities to remind them of their obligations not to admit lifetime registered sex offenders. The inspector general said more than $12 million could be saved annually by not subsidizing housing for those households with a lifetime registered sex offender.