The Federal Interagency Reentry Council released their August report focusing on the recent progress and future roadmap to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people reentering society after incarceration. The report details actions HUD has taken to ensure people with criminal records have access to affordable housing and outlines future steps by the administration to reduce barriers to housing.
The report states, “A place to live is one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life. Stable housing is particularly critical for people returning from prison and jail, who face a myriad of challenges while reestablishing themselves in their communities. Yet significant barriers to stable housing for reentering individuals exist. Across the country, over 10 percent of persons released from prisons and jails face homelessness upon reentry – a percentage that could be as high as 50 percent in large, urban areas. The lack of stable housing increases the likelihood of contact with the justice system.”
The report highlights HUD’s development and release of guidance earlier this year clarifying rules related to screening and eviction policies based on criminal records. HUD’s guidance “makes clear that blanket bans on renting or selling to anyone with a criminal record may have an unjustified effect or disparate impact in violation of the Fair Housing Act.”
The report also discusses the Department of Justice (DOJ) and HUD’s recent launch of programs aimed at combating homelessness and recidivism. Together they funded the Juvenile Re-entry Assistance Program (JRAP) that partners with public housing authorities and nonprofit legal organizations to expunge, seal, or correct juvenile and criminal records for citizens under twenty-five. DOJ and HUD have also launched an $8.2 million demonstration grant that establishes Pay for Success (PFS) and Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) programs. These programs research and implement the most cost-effective methods to prevent individuals from cycling between criminal corrections and homelessness by providing them with permanent supportive housing.
To ensure local and regional housing officials are aware of and understand the latest guidance regarding housing for justice-involved individuals, HUD will establish a network of field office points of contact who can respond to questions from public housing agencies and other stakeholders. HUD will hold quarterly calls with these points of contact.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and agency partners will release guidance detailing ways to assess whether an individual in a correction facility is at risk of experiencing homelessness and providing best practices for ensuring housing stability is a focus of discharge planning.
The Reentry Council will continue to dispel misconceptions regarding HUD policies and share best practices with local stakeholders. The Reentry Council will also look closely at innovative pilot programs like JRAP to inform future policy and funding decisions. HUD, DOJ, and USICH will “elevate effective program models and technical assistance strategies so that local jurisdictions can learn from their peers around the country and scale promising and best practices.”
Read the Federal Interagency Reentry Council report at: http://bit.ly/2cfjEqu