Zoned in: Finding Housing in Child Exclusion Zones

A relatively recent Google Play app, CSZfree, seeks to aid registrants in need of housing but bound by residency restrictions. These laws limiting where people on the registry can lawfully reside have been an increasingly popular measure to punish registrants. Over the past decade a number of states and localities passed legislation banning registrants from living near parks, swimming pools, day cares, schools, and other such places where children frequently congregate. The specified distance from such places varies from 500 to 2,500 feet depending on the jurisdiction.

Residency restrictions have led to a number of unintended consequences. Most notably, these exclusionary zones have effectively banned registrants from entire cities or forced them to inhabit unlikely spaces. Registrants under community supervision in New York City have scant housing options and Florida registrants have been forced to live under a bridge or to create an entire town in order to find a legal address.

Aside from homelessness, registrants may be forced to live in areas with less access to employment or mental health services. These consequences are in direct opposition to research demonstrating that stable housing, employment, and mental health services are critical to preventing re-offense.

A free app, CSZfree is designed to provide registrants with an idea of where they can legally reside and help them successfully reintegrate with their communities. Through Google maps, it shows a user what areas to avoid around child safety zones (CSZ) so registrants know where not to live or loiter. There are a number of options available to tailor the exclusion zone to the area in which you live. A user can add or remove a place that is either missing from the map or is no longer in business. You can increase or decrease the radius of the child safety zone to fit the laws of the jurisdiction you are searching. There is also an option to show bus stops if they are listed as an exclusionary place in your jurisdiction’s law. A helpful FAQ is also available if you need some additional assistance. As a bonus, proceeds from ad sales are donated to a halfway house providing reentry services.

Download today if you need help locating a compliant address and are allowed access to a smartphone. If not, see if a friend or family member will for you.