In June 2021, 23, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge sent a letter on reentry to PHAs, Continuums of Care, Multifamily Owners, and HUD Grantees. Secretary Fudge noted that
HUD is taking additional steps to meet the housing needs of returning citizens and to reduce barriers to housing among people with criminal records. This includes:
- Developing additional tools and guidance to assist private landlords, PHAs, and Multifamily housing owners to ensure that their applicant screening and tenant selection practices avoid unnecessarily overbroad denial of housing to applicants on the basis of criminal records that could lead to Fair Housing violations, consistent with the 2016 memo on disparate impact and criminal records;
- Reviewing existing HUD policies and regulations that limit access to housing and HUD assistance among people with criminal conviction histories; and
- Publishing findings regarding best and promising practices on reentry housing, including through HUD’s existing programs and demonstrations like the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program and the Pay for Success Permanent Supportive Housing Demonstration.
HUD is doing this, Secretary Fudge writes, because it “is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the housing needs of returning citizens and people with criminal records, and by doing so, increasing public safety within our communities. Addressing reentry housing needs also furthers the Biden Administration’s commitment to advancing equity and reversing systemic racism, given the racial disparities evident in the criminal justice system.”
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More