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Housing Not Hurdles

The Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act

Criminal background checks have been used for far too long to exclude people from housing.

A conviction has an end date, shouldn’t the punishment?

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It's Time To End Discrimination Against People With Conviction Records.

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November is Homelessness  Awareness Month

We believe that EVERYONE DESERVES A HOME. Housing is a human right for all of us, not just for some. But for nearly 1 in 3 Michiganders with a criminal record, access to safe and affordable housing remains out of reach. 
Fair Chance Housing

Systemic discrimination against people with criminal records in tenant screening is a persistent barrier to housing access, economic stability, and public safety, and contributes to the prison-to-homelessness pipeline.  On June 26, 2023 the Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act (HB 4878) was introduced by Representative Abraham Aiyash and 20+ co-sponsors in an effort to expand affordable housing and combat homelessness. 

Under existing law, housing providers and landlords have significant discretion with respect to tenant screening, leading to overly restrictive policies that unfairly screen out good tenants and neighbors. People with criminal records are openly discriminated against, being denied the opportunity to reunify with family post-incarceration and putting them at risk of housing instability, homelessness, and recidivism. The Fair Chance at Housing Act will reduce the impact of the collateral consequences associated with having a criminal record by expanding opportunities for all Michiganders to secure stable, accessible and affordable housing.

The Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act provides critical protections against housing discrimination based on prior criminal history by regulating the use of criminal background checks. During the tenant screening process, housing providers would be required to perform an individualized review of each applicant that considers the totality of the circumstances, rather than automatically disqualifying them due to their past mistakes.  

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Housing Not Hurdles

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Housing insecurity and homelessness present pervasive problems impacting the more than 8,000 people who come home from prison each year across the state of Michigan.

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The staggering 2 million to 3 million people living in Michigan with criminal convictions underscores the challenges they face in finding safe and stable housing. 

 

 

These challenges create significant obstacles for successful reintegration into society and increase the risk of recidivism.

 

We are dedicated to the belief in the power of second chances and firmly believe that strengthening access to housing for people with criminal records is key to successful reentry.

Addressing this issue requires collective efforts from housing providers, policymakers, community organizations, and support networks. Recognizing the importance of fair access to safe and affordable housing, we can implement policies and initiatives that provide opportunities for individuals with criminal records to secure housing. Supportive housing programs, the implementation of "fair chance" policies, and robust reentry services are essential components of the solution.

The Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act aligns with our core principles of rehabilitation and recognizing that everyone has the capacity for growth and change and is just one of many steps that need to be taken to repair our broken criminal legal system. 

HB 4878 marks a crucial step forward in our ongoing efforts to ensure that all Michiganders have a fair opportunity to secure housing.

As the Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act progresses through the legislative process, we urge all Michiganders to show their support for this vital legislation. Together, we have the power to end the pernicious cycle of disenfranchisement, poverty, and criminality for individuals experiencing homelessness and foster a more inclusive and just Michigan.

Learn more & take action
People with convictions are our friends and family.
We believe everyone deserves a home.
Housing for everyone makes everyone safer.
Contact your state representatives, share your stories and let them know you stand firmly behind the Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act

Add you name or organization to our sign-on letter urging our legislators to support HB 4878

For more information about homelessness in Michigan, visit: Michigan.gov/MCTEH
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