HUD Issues Notice to Public Housing Authorities

Nov. 2015 - On November 2nd, HUD Issued a notice regarding the use of arrest records in housing decisions. The notice is a continuation of a 2011 letter to Public Housing Authorities around the country from former HUD secretary Shaun Donovan encouraging second chances for previously incarcerated individuals. In that letter Donovan asserted the importance of balancing extending HUD-assisted housing to those with criminal history and protecting the safety of the other residents. The notice issued served as a reminder to PHAs and owners that HUD does not preclude individuals with an arrest record from obtaining assistance. They also must comply with applicable civil rights requirements found in the Fair Housing Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the other equal opportunity provisions listed in 24 CFR 5.105.

HUD also made it clear that an arrest is not evidence of criminal activity. Arrests alone cannot be cause for adverse admission, termination or eviction. Often times an arrest does not even lead to charges being filed, and even less often, a conviction. In the 75 largest counties in America, 1/3 of all felony arrests did not result in conviction.

The full text of the notice can be found here.

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