Criminal records are a significant barrier to housing for millions of Americans. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued groundbreaking guidance in April; that guidance stated that admission denials, evictions, and other adverse housing decisions based on a person’s criminal record may constitute racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. This fair housing guidance came on the heels of HUD’s November 2015 guidance, which warned public housing authorities and other HUD-assisted owners against relying on arrest records in federally subsidized housing.
The Shriver Center and the National Housing Law Project hosted a webinar to explore how legal aid attorneys and tenant advocates can use recent HUD guidance to help obtain and maintain housing for people with criminal records. The webinar delved into the technical aspects of HUD’s guidance and included practical advocacy tips for using the guidance to improve tenant screening and eviction policies at the local level.