For the past five years HUD has been an active member of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council. This council, made up of more than 23 Federal Agencies, meets on a regular basis toact on issues that affect the lives of those released from incarceration. An important aspect of the Reentry Council’s work has been to have each Federal Agency identify and address “collateral consequences” that individuals and their families may face because they or a family member has been incarcerated or has had any involvement with the criminal justice system.
In 2011, former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan issued a letter to public housing authorities (PHAs) across the country emphasizing the importance of providing “second chances” for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Secretary Donovan urged PHAs to adopt admission policies that achieve a sensible and effective balance between allowing individuals with a criminal record to access HUD-subsidized housing and ensuring the safety of all residents of such housing. A year later, Secretary Donovan encouraged owners of HUD assisted multifamily properties (“owners”) to do the same and reiterated HUD’s goal of “helping ex-offenders gain access to one of the most fundamental building blocks of a stable life – a place to live.” HUD has also previously stressed the troubling relationship between housing barriers for individuals with criminal records and homelessness, stating that “the difficulties in reintegrating into the community increase the risk of homelessness for released prisoners, and homelessness in turn increases the risk of subsequent re-incarceration.”3 At a time when an estimated 100 million (or nearly one in three) Americans have some type of criminal record,4 HUD remains committed to the goal of providing second chances to formerly incarcerated individuals where appropriate and to ensuring that individuals are not denied access to HUD-subsidized housing on the basis of inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise unreliable evidence of past criminal conduct. With those aims, and in response to requests from housing providers and prospective tenants for guidance from HUD regarding the proper use of criminal records in housing decisions, HUD is issuing this notice. View Full Report