APPLETON, Wis. (AP) — Julie Angell was nervous. She was about to get out of prison, but didn’t have anywhere to go.
Even with help, the challenges faced by many people getting out of prison can be immense and it isn’t uncommon for some to end up homeless if they’re unable to afford a place of their own or can’t find somewhere willing to rent to them.
There is similar transitional housing in communities all over Wisconsin — 377 beds in 44 locations — meant to provide a stable place to live for people released from prison with nowhere to go and give them time to look for a job or save money to get a place of their own, the Appleton Post-Crescent.
Neighbors sometimes see transitional housing as a threat to their safety. In Oshkosh, neighbors of one such house have concerns about the choice of location and the overall management of the facility. They warn their children to avoid the people who stay there.
When a sex offender moves to the house, neighbors get a notice about “the severity of their sexual offenses,” Kunde said.
There is stigma to deal with too, she said. Most people tend to think anyone in transitional living is a sex offender, when that isn’t always true.
O’Brien spoke at a workshop held in September by the Oshkosh City Council to discuss the issue. She said her daughter hasn’t played in their front yard for years and her son knows to be aware of the house “where the bad men are.”
“We are prisoners in our own homes,” she said.
The transitional living residence in Oshkosh was “sited with notice,” including notices made to “law enforcement, local government and the local newspaper,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
“While no location is perfect, transitional housing greatly assists clients toward a successful transition,” said Aaron Sabel, a regional chief in the division of community corrections, in a statement to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.