Sex offenders have a hard time finding homes

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota and Minnesota have programs to provide transitional housing for sex offenders after their release from prison.

In Fargo, Ellric Giroux and Andy Perhus are living in a Fargo apartment after being turned down a combined 38 times when they tried to find place to live.

Barb Breiland, the program manager for the North Dakota Sex Offender Specialist Unit, said the state leases the apartment as transitional housing.

For $7 a day, including utilities, "it beats living on the street," said Giroux, who was homeless for a year in Minneapolis.

Giroux was convicted in 1997, in an incident involving a 15-year-old when he was 19. "I'm not opposed to people knowing," he said. "People are afraid of what they don't know; it's human nature."

Perhus was convicted in 2003 of burglary and criminal trespass for entering private homes and stealing female undergarments. His probation was revoked in 2006 after he was found with female and children's undergarments, according to the city's sex offender site.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections uses a home in Moorhead for up to four offenders after their release from prison.

"Offenders are placed there so they're not living in their car, they're not living under a bridge," said Shari Burt, a spokeswoman for the department.

Burt said the state can monitor the offenders, who usually stay up to 90 days while looking for permanent housing or employment.

"We believe that it improves, it enhances public safety," she said.

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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