- The Fair Chance at Housing Act would allow federal housing for individuals with criminal backgrounds.
- Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have come together to present this bill.
- The bill would be in favor of a tenant’s rights over that of a landlord.
NEW YORK – On Wednesday, Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced “The Fair Chance at Housing Act” to their individual Houses. The pair have come together to help the bill gain a wider audience. Essentially, it would stop screening the criminal history aspect of applicants seeking federal housing assistance.
What The Bill Entails
Under the Fair Chance at Housing Act, the one-strike rule would no longer apply to tenants. The one-strike rule allows landlords to evict tenants from their dwellings should they be found to have any involvement in criminal activities. If the landlord believes their tenant is guilty of a criminal act, they would no longer be allowed to use forced entry to gain access to the home. They would need the permission of the tenant to enter the premises.
Testing for drugs and alcohol would not be allowed as it would be in violation of the rules of the new bill. Should a landlord want to evict an individual, they would need to leave it in the hands of the household. Those living with the individual in question would not be subjected to an eviction based on the behavior of one person.
The criminal records that would be dismissed when applying for housing would be arrest records that did not result in hard time, probationary offenses, minor drug offenses, and any offense involving finances. If for any reason a landlord denies an applicant, they must allow the applicant the opportunity to appeal the decision as well as provide ample reasons in writing as to why they have been denied. Any person that has recently been in prison and has been accepted for housing would have any fees for that housing paid for by HUD.
What AOC and Kamala Harris Are Saying
“The denial of basic necessities to formerly incarcerated people does not make our communities safer. Denying housing to those that have been formerly incarcerated increases recidivism. Today we are taking a step to make our communities safer,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Both women believe strongly in trying to reform the criminal justice system. ElectionOdds.com believes this bill would be a stepping stone in the direction they’d like to see America move towards. Allowing for equal rights to all individuals no matter what lies in their criminal history.
“Too many people become involved in our criminal justice system and serve their time only to return home to face additional barriers to employment, education, and housing. By requiring a higher standard of evidence and a more holistic review process, we are taking a significant step toward giving Americans a fair chance to succeed,” said Sen. Kamala Harris.
When discussing the bill, it was made clear that allowing the Fair Chance of Housing Act to become law would decrease the discrimination that is seen by those with criminal records. Ocasio-Cortez believes that the numbers are unfair when it comes to those with criminal backgrounds as the bulk of them are people of color or those belonging to the LGBTQ community. This bill would help to stop the targeting of these individuals further by allowing them equal access to housing.