Join 4/29 Webinar on Changes Proposed by HUD to Eliminate Unnecessary Screening Barriers to HUD-Assisted Housing for Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People

HUD released on April 10 a proposal to update existing screening regulations for applicants to HUD-assisted housing with conviction histories or a history of involvement with the criminal-legal system. NLIHC, in partnership with the Vera Institute for Justice, Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM), Shriver Center on Poverty Law, and National Housing Law Project (NHLP), will host a webinar on April 29 to provide a comprehensive overview of the proposal, its implications for people with conviction histories, and tips for writing and submitting comments on the proposed changes. Register for the webinar here.

Under current policy, public housing authorities (PHAs) and landlords of HUD-assisted housing have broad discretion in evaluating current and prospective tenants. As a result, some PHAs and landlords have created additional barriers for people with conviction and arrest records in need of stable housing. These barriers can make it exceedingly difficult – and, for some with conviction histories, impossible – to obtain housing.

Without a safe, affordable place to return to, people exiting incarceration are at a significantly increased risk of homelessness and reincarceration as communities across the country move to arrest or fine those experiencing homelessness. People who have been incarcerated once are seven times more likely to experience homelessness than the general population, while those who have been incarcerated more than once are 13 times more likely to experience homelessness. Because of historic and ongoing systemic racism, Black, Latino, and Native people are unfairly targeted and disproportionately impacted by the criminal-legal system. As a result, they are also more likely to be impacted by screening criteria that unfairly deny people access to housing because of a history of conviction or arrest.

HUD’s proposed rule would require landlords of HUD-assisted housing to perform an individualized assessment of potential tenants with a conviction history, taking into account mitigating factors like the length of time since the conviction, the nature and severity of the conviction, and what the applicant has done since the conviction. Read NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel’s statement on the proposed rule here. NLIHC’s analysis of the proposed rule is forthcoming and will be available soon.

The proposed rule was created in response to former HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge’s directive to review HUD regulations, guidance, and policies and identify unnecessary barriers to housing access for formerly incarcerated and convicted individuals and their families. The April release also coincides with Fair Housing Month and Second Chance Month.

The proposed rule is open to public comments until June 10.

View the proposed rule and submit a public comment here.

Register for the April 29 webinar here.