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Advocates Voice Support for the Fair Chance at Housing Act

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

In an open letter to U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, more than 75 local, state, and national organizations — including TAC — have applauded the introduction of H.R.5085, the Fair Chance at Housing Act of 2016. These fair housing advocates support “much-needed actions” proposed in the bill that would address the barriers to federally assisted housing faced by many justice-involved individuals. The letter notes that “Barriers to federally assisted housing make the reentry population uniquely vulnerable to becoming homeless… Presently, ‘one-strike’ policies allow tenants to be evicted for a single, and not infrequently minor, incident of criminal activity. ‘No-fault’ policies may terminate the tenancy of an entire family because of the criminal activity of a guest even without the knowledge of anyone in that household. Furthermore, owners of federally assisted housing are not required to consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding criminal activity when screening or determining evictions.” 

The proposed bill would ban “one-strike” and “no-fault” policies, require higher standards of evidence and individualized review processes, and offer support to providers seeking to house and rehabilitate people who have been involved in the criminal justice system. As the letter states, the Fair Chance at Housing Act “proposes a means to help end the cycle of homelessness and recidivism, and reiterates the inherent dignity of all people, including those seeking to move beyond their contact with the criminal justice system.”

READ ABOUT the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s recent Congressional Briefing on “Why Housing Matters in Criminal Justice Reform.”