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Meeting the Basic Housing Needs of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals in Los Angeles County  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Addressing the basic housing needs of formerly incarcerated individuals in Los Angeles County

Saun Hough (Courtesy Photo)

I got out of prison in 2012 after spending nearly two decades behind bars. After earning an associate of arts degree in biblical studies, a certificate in Christian counseling, and working with re-entry services for over 10 years, I still live in fear of being denied housing because of an old conviction/record.

Finding housing when you have a felony conviction is extremely difficult. When I was released from prison, I lived in an inpatient facility to rebuild my life, got a job, and eventually moved into transitional housing. After 6 months I was given a notice to vacate my apartment in 3 days which left me with no choice but to stay with a friend who had to give up his section 8 housing due to my previous conviction. Even with a job, there was no way I could find a place that would accept my application because of the background check. Since then, background checks have oppressively hindered my ability to find places to live.

Barriers to housing affect my family as much as they do me. My wife took the brunt and lives with a target on her back every day because of my past.

Homelessness and mass incarceration are two of the most prominent crises in Los Angeles right now, and together they form an almost inevitable cycle. California has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, and the US Department of Justice has estimated that 1 in 3 US adults has either an arrest or criminal record. Ex-prisoners in the United States are nearly 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public, and in California, 70% of people experiencing homelessness have a history of incarceration.

Homelessness can prevent a person who has been incarcerated from finding a job, visiting their children, and meeting other needs that are fundamental to reintegration back into society. Additionally, homeless people are more likely to spend time in prison than their sheltered counterparts, and research shows that access to housing reduces recidivism.

There are significant barriers beyond high rental costs that prevent people like us from securing housing. We are screened out when applying for rental housing due to criminal background checks in private rental housing, affordable non-profit housing, and public housing.

Private criminal databases draw source information from inadequate records and lack accountability procedures to ensure they are accurate. Simply put, housing providers evaluate applications based on criminal background checks that evaluate unreliable information.

My story is not unique. Throughout California, there are are 2.5 million people of working age living with old convictions on their criminal record preventing them from being able to secure stable housing. There are over 800,000 of us in LA alone The county accounts for 12.5% ​​of the country’s working age population. The Board of Supervisors has a unique opportunity to provide affordable housing for those living with a past recordin Los Angeles. Community and faith-based organizations across the county are calling on the Board of Supervisors to implement fair housing choice and ban the use of criminal histories for most felonies in determining access to housing. Fair Chance Housing removes structural barriers to housing and enables landlords to consider the merits of individual housing applications and gives people a fair chance. Excluding people with criminal records from good, affordable housing will only exacerbate the cycle of homelessness and incarceration in our communities.

Meeting the Basic Housing Needs of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals in Los Angeles County  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Meeting the Basic Housing Needs of Formerly Incarcerated Individuals in Los Angeles County  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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