In recent years, attitudes have shifted on addressing the collateral consequences of housing for formerly incarcerated people. Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged public housing authorities nationwide to give formerly incarcerated people a second chance at housing. In 2015, HUD released guidance on the use of arrests for determinations on who can live in HUD-assisted public housing authorities (PHAs). In addition to discrete programs, a number of PHAs across the country have also begun to adopt policies that provide formerly incarcerated people with the opportunity to live in federally subsidized housing. These programs and policy changes are all helping to push the nation towards a tipping point for change where inclusion is the norm and those with criminal justice histories are offered opportunities to reunite with their families and return home.

With PHAs, residents, and other stakeholders, Vera looks to reduce one of the most detrimental collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and give people a second chance to live at home. Public housing is a tremendous, underutilized resource for people coming out of prison and jail—a resource that connects people to their families and communities, and helps establish a foundation for successful reentry outcomes. Building on the lessons and best practices of New York City, New Orleans, and other jurisdictions that have implemented programs or revised policies, Vera will work with stakeholders across the country to change the public housing landscape to improve public safety outcomes and strengthen families and communities.

On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Trinity Church Wall Street, hosted Public Housing Access: A Convening on Innovative Reentry Practices, featuring public housing authorities, law enforcement agencies, government officials, practitioners, and researchers, to discuss and highlight innovative reentry practices in public housing. The event included discussions on the importance of public housing for people with conviction histories, lessons from the field, best practices, and opportunities for changes in policy.

Watch the event.