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Find Philadelphia-based resources for impacted people and family members, service providers, community advocates, landlords and more.

Legal Rights and Supports

PRC Housing Guide Flowchart and Resources
(Last revised September 2020)
This guide is meant to help simplify some of the info about existing housing resources, with a focus on publicly funded resources, that might be relevant to someone with a criminal record who is looking for housing, but it is by no means complete. This guide does not contain all resources that are available, the system(s) are frequently changing, and info here may not capture all of the complexities of how these resources are accessed. Use the info provided to obtain additional info.
Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers:
What Can I Do If I'm Rejected Because of a Criminal Record in Philadelphia? 
(Last revised April 2021)
This resource, created in collaboration with Regional Housing Legal Services, explains the Philadelphia Housing Authority's admissions and appeal process so that individuals with a criminal record can better advocate for themselves. It outlines clear steps to take to improve chances of successfully appealing a denial.
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Private and Affordable Housing:
What Can I Do If I'm Rejected Because of a Criminal Record in Philadelphia? 
(Last revised February 2022)
Developed in collaboration with Regional Housing Legal Services, this resource complements the above. It explains the rights and options for anyone who is applying for housing on the private market or through an affordable housing provider in Philadelphia and experienced a denial because of a criminal record. 
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How to Write a Letter of Explanation To a Potential Landlord
(with example letters!)

(Last revised February 2022)
It can be helpful to provide a letter to potential landlords to explain a conviction history and/or other barriers. This toolkit gives examples of how someone with a conviction history can share their story, present positive changes, and make a case to potential landlords to lease to them. Relevant to anyone supporting someone with a conviction history. Developed in collaboration with Regional Housing Legal Services.
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How to Write a Reasonable Accommodation Letter 
(Last revised April 2021)
For those who have criminal record because of a disability and/or past substance use, use this resource to learn more about your rights and how you can request a change in policy, known as "reasonable accommodation" in order to access housing.


Fair Chance Housing Infographic
(Last revised January 2022)
This infograph highlights the benefits of passing policies that ensure everyone has access to housing. It defines fair chance housing policy and how it works. It also links to current fair chance legislation being considered at the Pennsylvania Senate and how you can learn more. 
11 Myths of Renting to Someone with a Criminal Record 
(Last revised April 2021)
This resource dispels common myths that landlords or others may have against renting to people with a record, citing the most recent research, HUD guidelines, and best practice screening policies.
This two page flyer lists easy steps for landlords to take into consideration when developing their screening practices to protect themselves from inadvertently violating Fair Housing practices.
Tips for Landlords:
How to Follow Fair Housing Law Regarding Criminal Background Checks 
(Last revised April 2021)

Additional Housing Resources
(Last Revised August 2022)

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