Legislature can’t override Levy veto; sex offenders stay put

A vote in the county Legislature that could have paved the way to rid the East End of two locally despised shelters for homeless sex offenders failed Tuesday.

The 9-8 vote fell well short of the 12 votes that were needed to override a veto that had already been issued by County Executive Steve Levy.

The Legislature on Dec. 21 voted 11-7 to authorize the Department of Social Services to entering into agreement with a company called Community Housing Innovations to operate small shelters for homeless sex offenders at locations throughout the county.

Mr. Levy had said almost immediately after that vote he planned to reject the measure.

“We have consistently stated that its preferred method to meet its state mandate of housing the small population of homeless sex offenders is through the same manner used by neighboring Nassau and Westchester counties, which is a voucher system,” Mr. Levy said in his veto message.

The county executive and the Legislature both claim to want to end the current policy of putting all of the homeless sex offenders receiving county assistance into two East End trailers, including one at the Riverside jail, but both have supported different alternatives.

Mr. Levy had consistently supported the voucher system, in which homeless sex offenders in the county’s care receive a voucher for up to $90 per day, and find their own housing in motels. TheLlegislature voted against the voucher system last year.

The Legislature has supported having small shelters as an alternative to the vouchers, but Mr. Levy has vetoed that plan on several occasions.

An aide to Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) vowed to continued the fight.

“The failure to override the veto today is a bump in the road in our efforts to end the trailer program,” said the aide, Bill Faulk. “However, a bill co-sponsored by Legislator Romaine to include additional providers was adopted today and will result in additional housing plans.

“The legislator will not rest until the trailer program is ended and homeless sex offenders are removed from our community”

Since 2007, between one dozen and two dozen homeless offenders have been taxied to the East End every day and night from across Suffolk County to sleep in the trailers. Officials say that they are transported to social services offices during the day and to an undisclosed industrial area to shower on weekends.

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Read more in the Feb. 10 edition of the News-Review and at