Report: Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing

February 26, 2015
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Although HUD has given wide discretion to public housing authorities and federally subsidized project owners to admit low-income tenants with criminal records, many continue to deny these individuals, according to a new report by the Shriver Center. Overly restrictive policies against people with criminal records can violate civil rights laws, increase homelessness, and otherwise impede a person's chance to reintegrate into society.

Based on a review of over 300 written admissions policies from across the country, the report finds that the wide discretion given to housing providers has resulted in broad screening criteria that deny individuals admission to housing for mere arrests and decades-old criminal convictions, among other problems. The report identifies four areas where criminal records policies tend to be overly restrictive.

The report, “When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing,” urges HUD to take active steps to eliminate barriers to housing for persons who have had contact with the criminal justice system.

For more information, visit the Shriver Center’s website at http://povertylaw.org.

Source: Shriver Center