Modifying Tenant Screening and Eligibility Policies

Incarceration and homelessness are highly interrelated, as difficulties in reintegrating into the community increase the risk of homelessness for released prisoners, and homelessness increases the risk for re-incarceration.  Sometimes people come in contact with the criminal justice system because of behaviors related to the symptoms of untreated mental illness or other disabling conditions.  However, contrary to common assumptions, a person’s criminal background does not predict whether that person will succeed of fail at staying housed. 


HUD has provided encouragement to PHAs, including this letter the Secretary of HUD sent to all PHA Executive Directors, to review their policies related to criminal history and consider more flexible, reasonable admissions policies that balance safety concerns with the importance of providing individuals a second chance at improving their lives and becoming productive citizens.