Stop Denying Public Housing to Individuals with Non-Violent Criminal Records

Target: Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Goal: Ban the use of non-violent criminal records to determine eligibility for public housing. 

There is a massive population of people in desperate need of housing assistance who are denied each year because of their criminal record. Stable housing is a fundamental human right. Without access to federally subsidized housing, these people are left to live on the street and are forced back into criminal behavior as a way to make ends meet. 

Initially, these policies were set in place to protect other tenants, but the US housing policies have become widespread and overreaching. It is understandable that the average tenant would be opposed to sharing a building with a person who was convicted of a violent or sexual crime. But many of the people who are denied housing are non-violent offenders who desperately need government assistance to get back on their feet.

The housing policy in the United States denies anyone convicted of a federal crime access to public housing for the next five years. When those five years have passed, a criminal record will still affect that person’s ability to find work and shelter for the rest of their life. This makes it significantly harder for people convicted of crimes to reintegrate into society. People who are convicted of misdemeanors or even arrested without conviction also have similar issues finding housing and work because of the deeply ingrained prejudice within our housing system. 

There is no reason for the United States housing policies to be as harsh and punitive as they are when it comes to people with criminal records. Denying safe housing to vulnerable people forces them to resort to drastic measures in order to survive. Lack of adequate housing for newly paroled offenders contributes to a higher rate of recidivism and perpetuates a culture of fear and rejection for people with criminal records. Sign this petition today demanding that the United States stop denying housing to people with non-violent criminal records. 


Dear Secretary Carson,

The United States denies millions of people access to public housing each year based on non-violent criminal records. This perpetuates a culture in which people with criminal records are feared, ostracized, and demeaned. Lack of safe and adequate housing for non-violent criminals also contributes to an increased rate of recidivism, which furthers the narrative against these disadvantaged people. 

There is no reason to subjugate non-violent parolees to further discrimination. Allowing people with non-violent criminal records access to public housing will give these people a safe and secure place to land while they reintegrate into society. This would likely lessen the rate of recidivism within the United States while also providing support for a vulnerable population that experiences discrimination on every level of society. Please consider using your influence to stop housing discrimination against people with non-violent records. 


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: James Abbott


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