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Why Housing Matters for Successful Reentry and Public Safety

PD&R | April 19, 2022

April is National Fair Housing Month, the month we celebrate the passage of the Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968, and its ongoing effort to ameliorate the inequities caused by discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. April is also the month that President Biden proclaimed as Second Chance Month on March 31, 2022, asserting “the importance of helping people who were formerly incarcerated reenter society.” Designating April as Second Chance Month aligns efforts to address housing discrimination with efforts to remove barriers to safe and affordable housing for returning citizens. Overcoming these challenges to housing is important for returning citizens, their families, and their communities.

Throughout April, we acknowledge the collateral consequences of juvenile and criminal justice involvement and spotlight the efforts of governments, nonprofits, the advocacy community, stakeholder groups, family and friends of returning citizens, and returning citizens themselves in designing and informing the design of programs and policies that support successful reentry. One such effort was initiated last week by HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. Secretary Fudge directed her principal leadership to conduct a comprehensive review of HUD regulations, guidance, and policy documents that mention the use of criminal records in tenant screening, selection, and tenancy decisions. The review will propose changes to language to help housing providers avoid the overly broad use of criminal records in denying or excluding people from HUD-assisted housing and make appropriate changes based on those recommendations and review of federal statutes.

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