HUD: Take Zero-Tolerance Approach to Lifetime Sex Offenders in Subsidized Housing
HUD is strongly encouraging owners and managers of HUD-subsidized housing sites to take a zero-tolerance approach to ensuring that lifetime sex offenders are prevented from receiving federal housing assistance. The Notice, issued on Sept. 9, 2009, reiterates the current regulatory requirements whereby site owners and managers must perform necessary criminal history background checks to determine whether an applicant, or a member of the applicant's household, is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program. The check must be carried out in the state where the site is located, as well as any states where the applicant and members of his or her household are known to have resided.
HUD recommends the following new processes:
Ask households at each recertification whether any member is subject to a lifetime registration requirement under a state sex offender registration program.
Use the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Web site to confirm that applicants and federal housing assistance recipients are not lifetime registered sex offenders.
Aggressively pursue termination of tenancy or assistance, as appropriate, for tenants subject to a state lifetime sex offender registration requirement to the extent currently allowed by law.
HUD also recommends the following additional procedures that should be adopted at admission and annual recertifications:
In addition to screening adult members of the household, screening should include background checks on juvenile household members to the extent allowed by state and local law.
Annual recertification documents should include a question asking whether the tenant or any member of the tenant's household is subject to a lifetime state sex offender registration program in any state.
Notice H 2009-11 is posted on the HUD Web site, http://www.hud.gov.