The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) commends the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) for revising its Criminal Background Policy Statement. The revisions to HANO’s policy follow many of the recommendations LDF submitted in writing last month. In our letter we requested that the policy be revised so that it did not unfairly deny employment and housing opportunity to people with criminal records and disproportionately exclude African Americans and Latinos. The part of the revised policy dealing with employment now comports with guidelines issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). HANO has agreed, among other things, to consider the nature and gravity of the conviction, the amount of time that has elapsed since the conviction, and the nature of the position sought when evaluating applicants with criminal records. HANO also substantially altered the manner in which it will consider criminal history in the housing context as well. Under the revised policy no one will be automatically barred from HANO-affiliated housing due to a criminal conviction, except as mandated by federal law. HANO approved the revised policy statement during its March 23, 2013 board meeting. Read the policy here.
Here is a link of a Times-Picayune article about the policy.