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Should People With Criminal Histories Be Banned From Public Housing?

HUD Secretary Juliàn Castro says the agency is reconsidering rules that make it difficult for ex-offenders to access public housing.
relates to Should People With Criminal Histories Be Banned From Public Housing?
REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

We often talk about the “three-strikes rules” that came about in the 1990s—“tough on crime” federal laws that remanded people convicted of three felony convictions to life in prison.

Only one strike is needed, in many circumstances, however, to get banned from public housing. The 1998 Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, led to new rules from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on who could and couldn’t receive federal housing assistance. They gave local public housing authorities broad authority in using criminal histories to refuse people admission to public housing. Any sex offender is automatically ineligible; at one point, this included sex workers in Louisiana.