Frequently Asked Questions
We know that ex-offender housing can be a confusing and complication process, but it doesn’t have to be. Therefore, we’ve answered the most common questions, addressed the typical restrictions and included some external resources.
What is “Shared Offender Housing”?
Phoenix Housing offers rooms for rent suited for ex-offenders, including sex-offenders. Similar to roommate rentals, residents rent a private room and share common areas. Our homes feature a fully-equipped kitchen, living area, and clothes washer and dryer. Standard room residents share the bathroom(s), while premium room residents enjoy private baths. Apply Now!
What is “Independent Living”?
Our program is designed for self-sufficient and law-abiding offenders, able to conduct themselves appropriately within an independent living setting. Phoenix Housing doesn’t currently offer the structured programming that is offered by halfway houses or aftercare programs. Residents provide care, meals, and transportation for themselves. We require a stable income, and the ability to live well with others.
What are “Residency Restrictions”?
Sex offenders whose offense involves a minor under age 16 with an adjudication after October 1st, 2004, will be subject to lifetime residency restrictions. Known as the “1,000 Foot Rule”, Florida Law prohibits certain sex offenders from residing within 1,000 feet from a school, daycare, park or playground. However, local governments have the authority to enact ordinances up to 2,500 feet.
What Does Rent Include?
We offer private rooms for rent accommodations within a residence that our residents can co-live and share comfortably. We rent month-to-month, offering the flexibility of short- or long-term occupancy as needed. As a rule, our properties are furnished, routinely maintenance, and landscaped. We’re happy to include power, water, and air conditioning in the monthly rent. Rooms come move-in ready with bed, nightstand, lamp, dresser, and closet.
What are “Conduct Standards”?
Our housing model is designed to reduce re-offending, increase compliance and reintegrate remorseful, law-abiding citizens. Grouping offenders together offer peer support, practical supervision, and greater success. Residents are required to conduct themselves appropriately, respect others and eager to comply with their conditions. They must obey and strictly adhere to the laws, ordinances, and conditions as required. We do not tolerate misconduct by our residents or drug usage because it slanders our hard work in this profession.
What are “SO/SP Restrictions”?
Sex Offenders and Sexual Predators are subject to sanctions after release. FDLE’s Sex Offender Registry requires registration by SO’s twice per year and SP’s four times per year. Additionally, probationers may be required to participate in weekly group therapy, submit to annual polygraph testing, keep a curfew, maintain a driving log, and/or wear an electronic monitoring anklet. Each case is different and the conditions you may be subject to will vary based on offense, adjudication, supervision type, and court order.
What is a “No Go Zone”?
Every state, county, and municipality have their own rules and restrictions with regard to sex offenders. Brevard County Ordinance 2006-31 says:
“No sex offender or sexual predator shall enter into or remain within the 1,000-foot buffer zone surrounding any school, daycare center, park or playground… [except] when traveling through a buffer zone without intentional delay.”
Consequently, responsibility rests on the offender to know where he/she can and cannot be. If you’re not knowledgeable of the area you may accidentally violate these rules. Thankfully, Orange County has no such ordinance. Phoenix Housing strongly recommends that all sex offenders research state and local laws before taking residence in any community.
Why House Sex Offenders?
Persons convicted of sexually related offenses are the only group of offenders subject to lifetime sanctions after completion of their court-order sentences. This disparity poses greater reentry challenges for sex offenders. Our goal is to create equal transitional opportunities for offenders who are repentant, served their sentence in good-standing, and are faithful to reestablish themselves as law-abiding citizens.
What is the Acceptance Criteria?
Our service is designed to reduce recidivism, increase compliance, and provide a second chance for offenders to reintegrate successfully. Each applicant’s criminal history, behavior conformity, and risk indicators are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, Phoenix Housing targets first-time, non-violent offenders who pose a low-risk for reoffending.
Are Indigent Offenders Accepted?
Public monies and grants are not available to companies who house sex offenders and therefore the rent we collect is critical to cover expenses, overhead and keep our doors open. Therefore, unfortunately, we are unable to provide housing for an offender who does not possess a reliable source of income or financial sponsor.
What are the Move-In Costs?
Once an applicant is accepted into our program and prior to intake, we collect the payment for move-in. The move-in costs required are the first month’s rent payment and security deposit. For a standard private room renting at $6o0/mo., for example, the move-in costs would be as follows: $600.00 First Month of Rent, plus $600.00 Security Deposit, equals $1,200 Total Move-In Costs. Pricing is subject to change.
How is Rent Paid?
Most Offenders come to us newly released from incarceration and are unlikely to have an immediate source of income to support their initial move-in costs, monthly rent payments and other financial obligations. Applicants must have a verifiable source of income prior to being accepted. Verifiable sources of income may be:
Primarily, offenders rely on family members or loved ones to support their financial needs until they are able to gain employment, apply for SSI, SSDI, Retirement or reestablish these benefit payments which they received prior to incarceration. A person who commits to financial sponsorship of a resident would be required to submit rental payments as defined within the rental agreement, non-payment will result in termination and the resident will be evicted from the residence.
GEO Group Continuum of Care
The GEO Group operates five private prison facilities within Florida: Bay Correctional, Blackwater Correctional, Graceville Correctional, Moore Haven Correctional, and South Bay Correctional, and under their Continuum of Care program participants may be eligible for up to three months of housing costs. For more information about GEO’s CoC program, visit: https://www.geogroup.com/GEOs_Continuum_of_Care
Social Security Retirement Beneficiaries
Offenders who are aged 62 or older and who have been gainfully employed for a cumulative minimum of 10 years may qualify for Social Security Retirement benefits. Applicants who meet the qualifications for Social Security Retirement are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may be accepted based on future awarded payments.
Can I Reserve a Room in Advance?
Housing for sex offenders is a high-demand, low supply business. Vacancies are typically sold quickly and waiting lists are common. Once an applicant is approved and a vacancy is available we strongly suggest reserving the room immediately. In cases where the offender’s release is still a couple of months out, it is far more advantageous to pay rent for those months and have a guaranteed placement rather than wait closer to release date and there not be any vacancies at that time.
Can I Move Out Anytime?
Our rooms are rented on a month-to-month basis providing you with the flexibility to secure your own housing when you’re ready and able to do so. We require a 30-day notice prior to move out and ask that you leave the room in a rent-ready state.
What are the General House Rules?
Phoenix Housing does not utilize “House Managers.” We are an independent-living program, however, there are expectations of each resident as follows:
- Residents are required to clean up after themselves and maintain tidy common areas at all times.
- Residents are required to respect all other residents and Phoenix Housing staff at all times.
- Residents are prohibited from any loud activity that would interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of other residents or neighbors, ie. loud music, tv or phone conversations.
- Residents are required to remain drug-free and not to consume alcohol on any Phoenix Housing property.
- Residents are prohibited from being intoxicated on any Phoenix Housing property.
- Residents are prohibited from permitting any minor to enter or remain on any Phoenix Housing property.
- Residents are required to remain in compliance with all state laws and local ordinances at all times.
- Residents are required to obey all supervision conditions and orders at all times.
- Residents are not permitted to smoke or vape inside any residence. Designated smoking areas are provided and allowed outside on porches and patios.
All residents have a right to peaceful enjoyment of the residence and should be mindful and respectful of others at all times.
May I Have Guests?
We support our residents keeping in close contact with their family and positive friends. However, for the safety and protection of all residents, there are some limitations. All guests must be pre-approved by Phoenix Housing prior to visiting and may only visit during the hours of 6 AM – 10 PM. As some residents may have a condition prohibiting contact with minors, no guest under the age of 18 is allowed to be on our properties at any time.
Can My Wife/Girlfriend Live with Me?
We do have some properties where double occupancy would be permitted. Requests for double occupancy are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and would require renting a Premium Plus room. Contact us for more details.
What to Expect on Release Day?
On an inmate’s day of release transportation from their institution to our office is either provided by the FL-DOC via Greyhound bus or by a family member using a private vehicle.
The FL-DOC provides inmates with a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to the Orlando bus station where they will be met by one of our staff, transported to our office and begin the intake process.
Family members who choose to pick up their loved-one on release day should arrive at the institution at 9 AM on the day of release, check-in with Central Control and wait for until the release process is completed, which could take one to three hours depending on several variables. Due to the restrictions in place for most offenders, it is strongly suggested not to stop at a restaurant and dine-in, but to utilize drive-thru at a fast food eatery. There are strict time constraints for intake, probation check-in, and registration, therefore we must require the offender to be transported directly to our office without delay. Dining, shopping, and homecoming celebrations can be conducted after we intake the offender and they are in compliance.
What are the Intake Processes?
Once an offender is received into our residence, the intake process begins.
- The rules and conditions of their residency with Housing4Offenders are reviewed with the offender and their rental agreement is completed.
- Supervised offenders must go to FL-DOC Department of Probation and Parole office for their initial check-in where their conditions and expectation of their release are given. This process can take anywhere from one to four hours depending on intake volume.
- Offenders must go to the Orange County Sheriff’s office for their initial registration as a sex offender or sexual predator, respectively, and are required to bring their FL-DOC issued Inmate ID card and probation paperwork (if applicable). This process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours depending on registration volume.
- Offenders must go to the Orange County Tax Collectors office or Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office to obtain a Florida State ID or Driver’s License and are required to bring their rental agreement, SO/SP Registration form, certified copy of their birth certificate, and Social Security card. This process can take anywhere from one to four hours depending on customer volume.
Offenders are required by Florida law to complete these processes within 48 hours of release. Therefore, it is important that during the first two days of release that intakes refrain from visits by family and/or friends under compliance is reached.
What Additional Support is Available?
Phoenix Housing is dedicated to making the transition from incarceration to freedom as easy as possible. In an effort to do so, we help offenders apply for food stamp benefits, Social Security benefit for which they qualify, veterans benefits if applicable and community resource referrals for education, employment, healthcare, and treatment.
Florida’s Sex Offender Registry
The Florida Sex Offender Registry database contains public record information on offenders classified as sexual predators and sexual offenders under Florida law because of a conviction for a sex-related crime. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement provides access to the registry at https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/search.jsf