HUD Unveils Plan to Help People with a Criminal Record Find a Place to Live




USA Today: Romina Ruiz-Goiriena| April 12, 2022


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is working to make it easier for people with a criminal record to find housing – a move that could have widespread implications for nearly 1 in 3 Americans.


In a memo sent out to staff on Tuesday, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge instructed the department to review programs and policies that may "pose barriers to housing for persons with criminal histories or their families."


Fudge told staffers they have six months to propose updates and amendments consistent with the directive to "make our policies as inclusive as possible." Among the many things HUD staffers will be looking into are guidance documents, model leases and other agreements.


Some federal laws ban people convicted of certain crimes from accessing publicly funded housing programs, including anyone convicted of methamphetamine production on the premises of federally assisted housing, lifetime registered sex offenders and people convicted of drug possession.


That means any changes would impact some of the agency's most widespread programs, including federally funded public housing authorities and rental assistance voucher programs known as "Section 8."


The move is part of a wider effort led by the White House to advance racial equity after President Joe Biden issued an executive order last year mandating all federal agencies identify potential barriers facing underserved communities to enroll and access federal benefit programs.


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