HUD Proposal Would Soften ‘One-Strike’ Policy

Formerly incarcerated people are often barred from publicly subsidized housing, putting them at higher risk for homelessness and recidivism.

2 minute read

May 20, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is taking aim at housing discrimination against formerly incarcerated people, reports Eleanor J. Bader for Truthout.

The article describes the history of the ‘one-strike rule’ that kept people with criminal records out of public housing and new efforts being made by state and federal authorities to limit discrimination in publicly subsidized housing. “The state of New Jersey and a small number of cities have passed Fair Chance for Housing laws to limit what landlords can ask prospective tenants and restrict how far back they can go in someone’s personal history.” A New York City law limiting how far landlords can search a criminal record and when they can conduct background checks will apply to both public and private multi-family housing.

“In addition, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has proposed regulations for public and HUD-supported housing and to protect those at risk of eviction following the arrest and conviction of a household member.” HUD’s newly proposed rule would require public housing authorities (PHAs) to “consider mitigating circumstances” and factors beyond a criminal record to make the process more fair and equitable.

As Bader notes, “Tenants and advocates know that the HUD regs, as proposed, are only a small step toward housing justice, which will also require massive outlays of money for the construction or renovation of units that are truly affordable to low- and moderate-income people. At the same time, they know that even tiny changes can help.”

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