Justice 4 Housing

Contact Your Legislator

A key aspect of passing progressive legislation is the people’s support. If you agree with our legislative efforts (detailed below), please take a moment to contact your local state representative and senator. The below document contains contact information for all of the state representatives and senators in Massachusetts along with email and call scripts for our legislation to help guide your conversation.

If you do not know your representative or senator, you can find them here.

Far From Home Report

About the Report

In June 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge wrote a letter to all Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) outlining the Biden Administration’s mission to meet the housing needs of justice- involved individuals (JIIs) and to “reduce barriers to housing among people with criminal records.” In this letter, Secretary Fudge wrote that “HUD is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the housing needs of [JIIs], and by doing so, increasing public safety within our communities.”

However, existing PHA policies and regulations unduly limit access to housing assistance among JIIs in Massachusetts. These policies have a disparate impact on people of color who, despite making up only 17% of the state population, represent 50% of the incarcerated population. PHA policies restricting housing access to JIIs are harmful, discriminatory, and based on an outdated view of the criminal legal system. They affect not only JIIs, but their families and children: more than 5 million children under the age of 18 reportedly have had a parent in prison or jail nationwide, including 38,000 in Massachusetts alone.

Thought a combination of reforms, the “Far From Home” report envisions a pathway to expand subsidized housing access to JIIs and their families across Massachusetts. PHAs have discretion to set local policy on these issues. PHA leaders should affirmatively reverse discriminatory policies and use their discretion to ensure that the housing needs of JIIs, their families, and low- income tenants are met.

Every person returning from prison deserves a stable home to rebuild their life. We must work together to change PHAs’ outdated criminal record screening policies, and allow JIIs and their families access to this vital form of housing assistance so that they can rebuild connections to their local communities.

Click on the image to read the full report!

Our Legislation

H. 4071

An Act Securing Housing Options for Eligible Tenants with a History of Criminal Justice Involvement

Legislation We Support

HB1763/SB1037

An Act Providing for Easier and Greater Access to Record Sealing