Take Action Today to Support HUD’s Efforts to Decrease Barriers to Assisted Housing!

Thanks to the hard work of advocates nationwide, HUD recently proposed to update guidance to landlords and public housing agencies to help eliminate unnecessary barriers that too often prevent tenants with conviction or arrest records from accessing stable, affordable homes. NLIHC urges advocates – especially those with lived experience – to take action between now and June 10 to support efforts to decrease barriers to HUD-assisted housing for formerly incarcerated and convicted people and their families!

Three Ways Advocates Can Take Action:

  1. Sign NLIHC’s organizational letter supporting decreased barriers to housing for formerly incarcerated and convicted people. NLIHC urges all national, state, local, or tribal organizations to join a sign on letter supporting HUD’s efforts to decrease barriers to HUD-assisted housing for formerly incarcerated and convicted people and their families. The deadline to sign on is June 9. Read the letter and join here.
  1. Sign an organizational letter providing specific recommendations to HUD to strengthen the proposed rule. This letter, authored by the Partnership for Just Housing (PJH) and Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM), provides HUD with specific recommendations to improve the proposal. These recommendations were crafted in partnership with formerly incarcerated and convicted people. The deadline to sign on is June 10. Read the letter and sign on here.
  1. Submit your own public comment. Advocates can support HUD’s efforts to ensure greater access to housing for people with conviction histories by submitting their own public comment. Participating in the public comment period is a great way to make sure the voices of people with lived experience are heard and to influence federal policymaking. The deadline for comments is June 10. Submit your own comment here.

Your comment can be long or short, written formally or informally, based on research or your own experiences and the experiences of people you know. Consider answering questions like:

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced trying to find housing?
  • How many apartments did you apply for before finding your current housing?
  • Have you been able to find stable housing, and what has the impact been?
  • How have these barriers impacted your friends/family members/community?

Advocates can also use this comment portal, including a template with a pre-written message, from the Vera Institute for Justice. While all positive messages help, to be fully considered by HUD, comments must be at least 30% original content.


HUD released on April 10 a proposal to update existing screening regulations for applicants to HUD-assisted housing with conviction histories or a history of involvement with the criminal-legal system.

Under current policy, public housing authorities (PHAs) and landlords of HUD-assisted housing have broad discretion in evaluating current and prospective tenants. As a result, some PHAs and landlords have created additional barriers for people with conviction and arrest records in need of stable housing. These barriers can make it exceedingly difficult – and, for some with conviction histories, impossible – to obtain housing.

The updated guidance would help remove some of these barriers by reining in the discretion PHAs and owners/operators of assisted housing have in screening out potential applicants with conviction or arrest records. These changes include limiting lookback periods in admissions decisions; mandating individualized assessments of rental applicants with a conviction history; and clarifying the types of “relevant criminal activity” for which PHAs and owners can screen. Learn more about the proposed rule here.

NLIHC will continue to update our website with additional resources and information.

Thank you for your advocacy.