Press Release

The National Housing Law Project Leads 75 Orgs In Comment On HUD Proposed Rule To Level The Playing Field For Fair Housing

Comment Applauds HUD’s Proposed Rule and Offers Recommendations to Begin to Undo Harms and Expand Access to Public Housing

WASHINGTON D.C.—The National Housing Law Project yesterday sent a comment signed by 75 national, state, and local organizations fighting for fair housing, criminal legal system reform, and disability rights in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rulemaking to dismantle barriers to public housing and other HUD-assisted programs. The comment both applauds HUD’s proposed updates to the rule and offers recommendations to strengthen it that would begin to undo years of government harms and expand access to public housing for communities whose overrepresentation in the criminal legal system reflects systemic discrimination.

“We strongly support the proposed rule, which takes a much-needed step toward a more balanced and reasonable approach to the use of criminal history in admissions, subsidy terminations, and evictions in HUD-assisted housing. Once finalized, this rule will further fair housing by reducing criminal records barriers that disproportionately harms Black communities and other communities of color, people with disabilities, and survivors of gender-based violence,” National Housing Law Project wrote on behalf of the signing organizations.

The recommendations address a range of topics regarding admissions, terminations, and evictions, and include the following:

  • Adjust definitions in the final rule to eliminate potential loopholes that can harm applicants and tenants with criminal histories;
  • Clarify the types of evidence that may provide sufficient proof of disqualifying criminal activity; and
  • Strengthen procedural safeguards to ensure that PHAs and owners fully consider mitigating circumstances.

The sign-on comment is a shortened version of a full comment that provides more details on the recommendations. Read the sign-on comment here, the full comment here, and NHLP’s statement when the proposed rule was released here.

In 2022, NHLP and members of its Housing Justice Network developed a set of recommendations for HUD’s internal review of its criminal history policies and practices, some of which were included in today’s proposed rulemaking. NHLP’s An Affordable Home on Reentry is the seminal guide for legal practitioners and other tenant advocates to overcome criminal records barriers to HUD-assisted housing.