HUD AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCE NEW EFFORTS TO EASE TRANSITION FROM PRISON AND EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES FOR JOBS AND HOUSING
November 2, 2015
CHICAGO ”“ As part of President Obama’s efforts to promote rehabilitation and reintegration for the formerly incarcerated, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced $1.7 million for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to aid eligible public housing residents who are under the age of 24 to expunge or seal their records in accordance with their applicable state laws.
Through the Juvenile Re-entry Assistance Program (JRAP), HUD and DOJ are teaming up to help Americans who’ve paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.
This program specifically excludes makers of meth on public housing property, sex offenders or those convicted of domestic violence.
Additionally, HUD announced updated public housing arrests guidance to PHAs regarding the use of arrests in determining who can live in HUD-assisted properties. The Guidance outlines that arrest records may not be the basis for denying admission, terminating assistance or evicting tenants; and reiterates that HUD does not require PHAs and owners to adopt “One Strike” policies and includes best practices and models of success from PHAs across the nation.
“Young people who have been held accountable for nonviolent offenses and paid their debt to society deserve the opportunity to become active and productive members of their communities,” said HUD Secretary JuliÃ¡n Castro. “These grants and guidance will allow Public Housing Authorities and their partners to help these young people reach their full potential.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to giving formerly-incarcerated individuals the tools they need to become productive members of society,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “Providing meaningful support through housing opportunities, prevention programs and other critical services is vital to our ongoing efforts to reduce recidivism, promote public safety, and foster positive results in communities across the country.”
Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator, Illinois added: “Ex-offenders, particularly young people, who have paid the price for making a mistake, should be given a second chance. Yet, those with a criminal record are routinely denied access to affordable housing, hindering their efforts to reintegrate and become productive members of their families and our communities. Wiping the slate clean for young ex-offenders will open new doors and increase public safety by reducing recidivism. They’ll have opportunities to seek affordable housing, decent employment and a higher education — the resources needed to successfully re-enter society, and rebuild lives” Durbin said. “I applaud Secretary Castro, Attorney General Lynch, and President Obama for their commitment to helping young offenders begin again with the tools to succeed”Ž.”
Danny K. Davis, U.S.Senator, Illinois added: “I would like to commend President Obama, HUD and the Justice Department for expanding opportunities for returning citizens. As we continue to focus on the needs for returning citizens in the role of expungement, housing and training and job placement; I trust these initiatives will assist in a beneficial transition for individuals that have completed their sentences and are eager to be productive citizens.”
Having a criminal record severely limits a person’s ability to seek higher education, find good employment, qualify for credit and secure affordable housing. Today, an estimated 60,000 youths under the age of 24 are confined in juvenile detention and correctional facilities, with hundreds of thousands more on probation. These consequences create unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity, and President Obama and members of his Cabinet continue to take impactful steps to ensure those returning from prison become productive, law-abiding citizens.