HUD Released New Guidance on Housing the Re-Entry Folks

Breaking news from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty…

As part of President Obama’s announcements today on re-entry programs, HUD has sent guidance to Public Housing Authorities and owners of other HUD-assisted housing related to arrests and convictions.  This is a huge step in trying to ease people back into the communities after a period of time incarcerated.  There was also supporting sentencing reform and an effort to ban the box on federal job applications.

Here is the guidance, fresh off the presses: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PIH2015-19.pdf

In summary, it says:

  1. One-strike is not HUD policy
  2. Arrests are not sufficient evidence of criminal activity to support an adverse housing decision.
  3. Applicants and residents have due process rights if an adverse decision is being made based on criminal records.
  4. Apply any restrictions fairly and in accordance with civil rights laws.
  5. A list of best practices were also sent.

Many of us have advocated for this type of guidance for a long time and it is exciting to see it finally happen! The Law Center and the Fair Housing community will continue to push for more and broader guidance in the near future, particularly in the wake of the ICP Supreme Court case on disparate impact and the Fair Housing Act- which applies to all housing, not just HUD-assisted housing.

In the broader announcement, they are also announcing additional funding and programs to prevent/end the link between incarceration and unemployment and homelessness. We will have more details of this announcement in the future.

Brian Davis

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CAHA Meeting Cancelled for Monday

We have written about the desire by Cuyahoga Suburban Development staff to learn the addresses of those who live in the suburbs and receive rental assistance from EDEN (mentally ill and other disabled clients).  We have developed a petition to respond to this invasion of privacy on the Change.org website.  We are still collecting signatures here...http://chn.ge/1f8RF6A to sign in support of getting the suburban government out of the business of monitoring the addresses of the disabled.  The staff at First Suburbs Consortium after reading the petition and hearing concerns asked to be put on the agenda for the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance Meeting.  There was not room on the December meeting agenda, but we made space for the Monday January 6, 2014 CAHA meeting for a fuller discussion.  Right before Christmas, staff of the First Suburbs Consortium dropped out of the meeting. 

We have decided to cancel the CAHA meeting for Monday and move forward with our regular agenda for the February 3, 2013 meeting at 1:30 pm at 1350 Euclid Ave.  It is a shame that the housing community will not have a chance to put the issues on the table and hear the reasons for this information and the reasons that so many oppose this invasion of privacy.  NEOCH staff hope that this issue is dead in 2014 and the First Suburbs will not be asking for this information in the future.  

Brian Davis

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Response to Hateful Letter to the Editor

This letter that I penned was never published in the Plain Dealer, but the original letter should be corrected with facts and in my opinion should have never been published because it is hate speech.  There is a link to the original letter, but I would avoid reading it if you have high blood pressure.

Dear Plain Dealer Editor:

I was surprised to read the letter from Carmen Melillo Sr. in the Plain Dealer on September 6, because I was unaware that editorial policy had changed to allow grossly inaccurate and stereotypical information to be published without any clarification.  I have never understood why a paper allows anonymous hateful and incorrect comments on their electronic platform, but did not realize that the paper had decided to allow blatantly false claims in the letter’s section. 

Your letter writer seems to confuse the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program for all subsidized housing in the community since in all of Cleveland there are only 7,000 total vouchers being used and they are spread out all over the City.  They are not concentrated in one building or one area of town. Your own statistics published with the article on “social engineering by Stephen Koff shows that the large majority of CMHA clients are African American, and so your letter writer’s reference to “bad habits and culture” has to be seen as subtle forms of racism. 

There is no evidence that the majority of voucher holders in Cleveland were not born and raised in the community.  There is no evidence that those who need help with their rent are more violent or have a problem with addiction at a higher rate than other tenants.  Your letter writer seems angry with absentee landlords, but misdirects that anger at tenants who are just trying to find housing for their family as they struggle to find a better job.  Nearly everything in this letter was incorrect and full of hate.  The Housing Choice Voucher program and voucher holders should not be libeled in this way and the readers deserve opinion pieces based on some actual facts. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.