Skip to main content
ClearingHouse Community
Part of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Menu ≡

Ensuring Fair Housing for People with Criminal Records

A Conversation with HUD

Millions of Americans—a disproportionate number of whom are people of color—have criminal records that can be a barrier to housing. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued groundbreaking guidance stating that admission denials, evictions, and other adverse housing decisions based on a person’s criminal record may constitute racial discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

Since its release, advocates, housing providers, and others affected by the guidance have come forward with questions such as:

In this webinar, the Shriver Center and officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Justice answered these and other pressing questions. The webinar featured an overview of the guidance, an interview with HUD officials, and a live Q&A session including questions from attendees. The Housing Authority of New Orleans discussed its innovative criminal background check policy and how the policy's focus on individualized assessments will help to improve public safety. 

This webinar supplements the Shriver Center’s April 2016 webinar, which focused primarily on federally subsidized housing providers.

Speakers

Tonya Robinson
Acting General Counsel
Office of General Counsel
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Vanita Gupta
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Head of the Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

Michelle Aronowitz
Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement and Fair Housing
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

 

Casey Weissman-Vermeulen
Trial Attorney
Fair Housing Enforcement Division
Office of General Counsel
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Maggie Merrill
Director of Asset Management
Housing Authority of New Orleans

Marie Claire Tran-Leung
Staff Attorney
Housing Justice
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Further Reading

Presentation Slides

HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Use of Criminal Records by Providers of Housing and Real Estate-Related Transactions (April 4, 2016).

HUD Notice PIH 2015-19, Guidance for Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Owners of Federally-Assisted Housing on Excluding the Use of Arrest Records in Housing Decisions (Nov. 2, 2015).

HUD, FAQs: Excluding the Use of Arrest Records in Housing Decisions (n.d.).

Housing Authority of New Orleans, Criminal Background Screening Procedures (March 29, 2016).

Marie Claire Tran-Leung, Shriver Center, When Discretion Means Denial: A National Perspective on Criminal Records Barriers to Federally Subsidized Housing (Feb. 2015).

HUD, Office of General Counsel Guidance on Application of Fair Housing Act Standards to the Enforcement of Local Nuisance and Crime-Free Housing Ordinances Against Victims of Domestic Violence, Other Crime Victims, and Others Who Require Police or Emergency Services (Sept. 13, 2016).

2 active Fair Housing Act cases challenging criminal records screening policies:

Fortune Society, Incorporated v. Sandcastle Towers Housing Development Fund Corporation (E.D.N.Y.)

Alexander v. Edgewood Management Corporation (D.D.C.)

↑ Go up to the top.