April is HUD’s “Second Chance Month” for providing affordable housing, even for those with criminal convictions. During the month of April, HUD has historically focused on promoting Fair Housing Awareness to the nation’s stakeholders. This year, they have added an additional component to this initiative and are now calling April “Second Chance Month”.
Providing reasonable access to affordable housing, even for those with criminal convictions, while not circumventing federal guidelines, is a priority for the current HUD Secretary, Marcia L. Fudge. She indicates that “it is important to remind ourselves that people are not their conviction and that owners/agents must continue to maintain safe and decent housing for all Americans.”
Why “Second Chance Month” Was Created And How It Works
Statistics show that racial minorities and persons with disabilities are disproportionately involved in the justice system, yet all members of our communities require safe, decent, and sanitary housing. HUD’s Secretary Fudge issued a memorandum directing all relevant HUD Program Offices, to include the Office of Multifamily Housing, to review all documents (including model leases and other agreements) that may be inhibiting those that have been in the justice system from obtaining and maintaining housing.
The Program Office review of policies, etc. must take place within six months of the memorandum. In addition, all findings and proposed updates must be submitted to Headquarters by October 14, 2022. This nationwide assessment will enable respondents to identify existing elements of owner documents that may not be inclusive. Their considerations may result in rejections or evictions based on prior criminal events.
HUD’s next task is deciding if statutory regulations must change. If so, issues new instructions to owners if the prevailing guidance needs modification.
Click Here to read the full Memorandum: Eliminating Barriers That May Unnecessarily Prevent Individuals with Criminal Histories from Participating in HUD Programs.
Keep in mind, this memorandum outlines tasks for HUD staff to complete during this initial stage. However, following the completion of this review, it is likely that new or revised guidance may be forthcoming for participating owners that would prompt policy or procedural modifications to be compliant.
Jenny DeSilva is the President and CEO of DeSilva Housing Group. She has over 22 years of experience in affordable housing and is a recognized industry compliance expert. DeSilva offers extensive consulting and training knowledge in HUD’s Multifamily Housing programs.
Find Out More About HUD’s “Second Chance Month” – Contact DeSilva Housing Group Today.