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Monday, February 11, 2013
Update 3-27-2013: HANO revises its criminal background policy. Click here to learn more.
Last week, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed written comments on a draft criminal background policy proposed by the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO). The draft policy would bar potential employees and tenants from both jobs and housing with HANO and its contractors, consultants, and landlords if they fall in one or more sweeping categories. In our comments, LDF explained that, as currently drafted:
- the overly restrictive categories unfairly block large numbers of people who are qualified and need of jobs or housing to be contributing members of their communities;
- the proposed policy likely would disproportionately exclude African Americans and Latinos without justification; and
- the propose policy is far more restrictive than the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) regulations governing public housing authorities' use of criminal records, and conflicts with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's guidance regarding employers' consideration of criminal records.
We then offered recommendations for HANO to amend the policy to address legitimate concerns without imposing unnecessary barriers for people with criminal records.