People with criminal records face extraordinarily high barriers to obtaining housing. Landlords often refuse to rent to them. Many public housing authorities have adopted admission policies that prevent certain individuals with criminal histories from accessing public housing and Section 8 vouchers. An increasing number of local jurisdictions are passing crime-free housing ordinances that require the eviction of tenants who come into contact with the criminal justice system. And people with criminal records often find it difficult to secure good jobs that allow them to earn enough to afford rent.
These barriers have contributed to a homelessness crisis among the formerly incarcerated. Approximately half of all homeless people report a history of incarceration, and formerly incarcerated people are 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public. Given the vast number of individuals in the United States with criminal records – over 75 million people – organizations committed to alleviating housing insecurity among low-income people of color cannot afford to ignore the housing challenges system-involved individuals face.
Fortunately, many aren't ignoring the problem. Across the country, formerly incarcerated people, advocates, housing providers, and some government leaders are employing a variety of policy and programmatic strategies to increase housing access for people with records. This webinar will examine several of these strategies, including:
- Innovative programs to reform public housing authority admission policies;
- Local fair chance housing ordinances designed to end discrimination against people with records; and
- Efforts to leverage state and federal power and affordable housing funding to address discrimination against people with records.
Webinar attendees will learn about the effectiveness of these strategies and how they can be scaled to achieve maximum impact.
- Lewis Brown, Jr., PolicyLink, (moderator)
- Byron Kline, Vera Institute of Justice
- Lisa Sitkin, National Housing Law Project
- Terah Lawyer, Impact Justice