Safe at Home: A Reference Guide for Public Housing Officials on the Federal Housing Laws Regarding Admission and Eviction Standards for People with Criminal Records
Public housing policies in this country are governed by a complex and sometimes confusing set of federal laws and regulations, local policy directives, ordinances, and judicial case law. Everyone entangled in this web has expressed frustration with this scheme, especially in connection with people who have criminal records. The Legal Action Center developed this guidebook to explain what the federal housing laws require, highlight those areas where public housing agencies (PHAs) have discretion to craft their own admission and eviction policies related to people with criminal records, and offer recommendations on effective ways to use that dis- cretion to simultaneously meet important public safety goals and the housing needs of people with criminal records. What follows is a user-friendly manual to help guide PHAs through this decision-making process.
PHAs encounter many complex issues regarding the admis- sion and eviction of people with criminal records. Chief among these are the lack of affordable housing stock that creates enormous pressure for PHAs as they seek to meet the hous- ing needs of various populations. Others are issues of fairness, public safety, and fear of liability. This guidebook addresses some of these important concerns and highlights innovative practices that local housing authorities around the country have implemented to tackle these important challenges.