Press Release – 6/14/2016
The City of Seattle’s City Council unanimously approved a resolution which establishes their intent to follow the recently disseminated HUD guidance on housing for those with criminal records. The resolution also includes the City’s intent to form a stakeholder’s group of directly impacted tenants and community groups to develop a strong ordinance directing landlords to look at each criminal conviction in similar fashion as the Fair Chance Employment Ordinance. This a huge win for tenants impacted by mass incarceration. Each year, over 600,000 individuals are released from ‘correctional’ facilities leaving them with criminal records. In the US, 1 in 3 people have criminal records. These records follow the individual virtually everywhere. Public benefits, housing, employment, and volunteer opportunities are continuously denied to those with criminal records.This has a hugely disproportionate impact on communities of color who are targeted by police forces at an alarmingly higher rate than white communities. This resolution, while not law, sends a strong message to landlords and screening companies that the City of Seattle recognizes the issues with mass incarceration and plans to address its horrid effects on vulnerable communities throughout the City.
Organizations including the TU, Columbia Legal Services, Washington CAN, Western Regional Advocacy Project, and Puget Sound Sage testified in favor of the resolution.
Read the press release here.