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A Stacked Deck—How Credit Is Used to Screen Out Those Most in Need of Federally Subsidized Housing

By Maeve Elise Brown

Owners and managers of subsidized housing often use accessible and unreliable credit information to decide whether a housing applicant is likely to pay rent; rent and utility payment history are more relevant indicators. Use of credit reports and scores can end up excluding the very low-income people whom subsidized housing programs are designed to help and can mask exclusion motives—violating fair housing laws. HUD should promulgate regulations that limit improper use of credit information in subsidized housing programs.

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