Skip to main content
ClearingHouse Community Menu ≡

Access to Affordable Housing for People with Criminal Records

People with criminal records often face obstacles to obtaining affordable housing. They can be denied housing based on arrests without subsequent convictions, old and outdated convictions, or criminal records that have nothing to do with a person's ability to be a good tenant. In this webinar moderated by the Shriver Center's Marie Claire Tran-Leung, the presenters shared their experiences using litigation and advocacy to eliminate such barriers to federally subsidized housing and to housing in the private rental market.  


Fred Fuchs, Housing Group Coordinator & Federally Subsidized Housing Team Manager, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Fred Fuchs is an attorney and the housing group coordinator with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where he oversees TRLA's various housing teams. He teaches a housing clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. He is a Vietnam-era veteran. He has won a number of awards for his housing advocacy, such as the 2006 David B. Bryson Memorial Award from the Housing Justice Network and the National Housing Law Project and the 2002 Kutak-Dodds Prize from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. He was the first recipient of the State Bar of Texas J. Chrys Dougherty Award as Outstanding Legal Services Attorney in 1992. He has written numerous articles for Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, including “Using the Reasonable-Accommodation Provision of the Fair Housing Act to Prevent the Eviction of a Tenant with Disabilities" and "Defending Against Eviction from Public and Federally Subsidized Housing." He was a contributing author to the 2002 Poverty Law Manual for the New Lawyerpublished by the National Center on Poverty Law, writing the chapter titled, "Overview of Public Housing, HUD Federally Subsidized Housing, and Section 8 Housing Voucher Programs."

John Relman, Managing Partner, Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC

John P. Relman is the managing partner of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, a public interest law firm specializing in civil rights litigation. Known nationally for its civil rights practice, the firm has been cited by the Stanford Law Review as “one of the nation’s most dynamic for-profit civil rights law firms” that has “brought a range of innovative lawsuits at the frontier of civil rights practice.” A nationally recognized expert in fair housing and fair lending law, for nearly three decades Mr. Relman has represented individual plaintiffs, cities, and leading civil rights organizations in many of the country’s most important civil rights cases. He is the author of Housing Discrimination Practice Manual, published by the West Group, and has taught public interest law at Georgetown University Law Center and fair housing and employment discrimination law at the Washington College of Law at American University. From 1989 to 1999, Relman headed the Fair Housing Project at the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights. Before that Mr. Relman was a staff attorney at the national office of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan and his undergraduate degree from Harvard.

Laura Tuggle, Executive Director, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

Laura Tuggle graduated from Tulane Law School in 1987 and has been working on affordable housing and eradication of homelessness for the past 25 years, 20 of them at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS). Since May 2014, she has served as the executive director of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. She was previously a staff attorney with the New Orleans Pro Bono Project working primarily with its Homeless Advocacy Project and was general counsel for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) under a reform administration at that long-troubled housing agency. As HANO finally transitioned back to local control, she resumed her former role of managing attorney of the SLLS Housing Unit. Tuggle is the co-author of the Brookings Institution's New Orleans Index at 5 housing article and the original author of the federally subsidized housing section of the Louisiana Legal Services Desk Manual. Tuggle and SLLS have received numerous awards for housing-related work, including the 2012 American Bar Association Hodson Award for service after Hurricane Katrina and its long aftermath, the 2005 Reginald Heber Smith Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the 2001 Louisiana State Bar Association’s Career Public Interest Award.

Presenters' Slides

Additional Resources

↑ Go up to the top.