Permanent Bans on Public Housing for Drugs

"In determining eligibility for Section 8 and other federally assisted housing, the Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act of 199640 and the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 199841 require local housing authorities to permanently bar individuals convicted of certain sex offenses and methamphetamine production on public housing premises.42 The federal laws also give local public housing agencies discretion to deny eligibility to virtually anyone with a criminal background, including: 1) people who have been evicted from public, federally assisted, or Section 8 housing because of drug-related criminal activity for three years; and 2) anyone who has engaged in any drug-related criminal activity, any violent criminal activity, and other criminal activity that would adversely affect the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises.43 Local housing agencies have the authority to: 1) identify which crimes make an applicant ineligible for public housing; 2) decide whether they will consider arrests not leading to conviction in eviction proceedings; 3) decide how long to deny housing assistance to people with criminal records; and 4) determine what, if anything, qualifies as rehabilitation for purposes of lifting the bars to public housing. Thus, local authorities have wide discretion in determining how restrictive, or inclusive, their policies regarding admission of people with criminal records will be."

Source: 

Mukamal, Debbie A. and Samuels, Paul N., " Statutory Limitations on Civil Rights of People with Criminal Records." Fordham Urban Law Journal (New York, NY: Fordham University, 2002) Volume 30, Issue 5, p. 1506.
http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/c...

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