Harris Co. host to dozens of 'alternative homes' for parolees

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In the city of Houston, there are 99 state-approved homes that house parolees, people who have committed felony offenses and are now serving the remainder of their sentence in one of these homes.

They're like halfway houses, but the city refers to them as "alternative homes." Just where are these houses?

They could be right next door to you or down the street, and you wouldn't even know it.

In fact, if you tried to find out, you would probably have to put in a records request, because the information is not immediately available for the public to see.

In fact, there are more alternative homes in Harris County than anywhere in the state by a long shot, according to victim's advocate Andy Kahan.

"We didn't have any way of regulating it. I mean, how else do you explain the difference between 118 in Harris County and 3 in Bexar County," Kahan pointed out.

Other counties with alternative homes include Dallas with 32, Travis with 31, and Tarrant with 17.

Now, there's an effort to require the alternative homes to register with the city and meet certain criteria that was never in place before. City council members are looking at recommendations to require all alternative homes housing parolees to register with the city.

The city would create a public database so you would know where the homes are located.

Furthermore, other recommendations include meeting building code requirements, housing one person per 200 square feet, and a home must be at least 1,000 feet from a school.

Right now, some alternative homes could be grandfathered in on the clause concerning the distance from the school. Previously, the requirement was 500 feet.

Here is a map of currently state-approved alternative homes in Harris County:

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