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Attorney General Raoul Calls on HUD to Standardize Public Housing Screening for Applicants with Arrest or Conviction Records


Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with a coalition of 13 attorneys general, has urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to establish standardized federal rules for screening public housing applicants with arrest or conviction records.

Raoul and the coalition submitted a comment letter in response to HUD's notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the use of arrest or conviction records in housing decisions. The coalition supports HUD's initiative to create uniform practices for criminal history screenings across HUD programs, aiming to provide individuals with such records a fair chance at obtaining housing.

"Everyone, especially those striving to move past a conviction or arrest, deserves the opportunity to secure safe and reliable housing," Raoul stated. "A second chance begins with access to dignified housing, and I will continue to collaborate with fellow attorneys general to ensure equal housing access for all residents in Illinois and nationwide."

The proposed rule includes a standard three-year review period for evaluating conviction histories, ensuring only recent and relevant criminal activity is considered. It also restricts the denial of housing based solely on arrest records. Furthermore, the rule mandates that Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) conduct individual assessments in cases of denial due to criminal history, allowing applicants to provide additional information.

Raoul and the coalition recommend further clarification in the proposed rule, particularly regarding the types of evidence of criminal activity without a conviction that may be considered in housing screenings. This aims to prevent arbitrary, unfair, or discriminatory decisions. The coalition also supports the establishment of a reasonable review period for conviction history and calls for more guidance for PHAs and HUD-assisted housing providers.

Joining Raoul in this initiative are the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

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