McDuffie Introduces Bill to ‘Ban the Box’ for Housing

On Tuesday, April 19th, Councilmember McDuffie introduced the “Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016.”

The Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016 is much like the “Ban the Box” legislation. The bill prohibits a housing provider’s inquiry into personal and private information. More specifically, this bill will assist in the successful reintegration of our returning citizens into the community by removing barriers to securing adequate housing.

Accordingly, under the bill, a housing provider would be prohibited from considering an applicant’s arrest record during the application process and would restrict a housing provider’s inquiry into an applicant’s prior convictions until after a conditional offer of housing.

Finding and securing adequate housing is one of the most difficult challenges faced by formally incarcerated people and homelessness within this population is prevalent. One-tenth of individuals entering prisons have recently been homeless, and many of those returning citizens end up homeless as well.

With this legislation, a housing provider will be required to address a list of factors when taking into account certain portions of an applicant’s criminal background. Certain exemptions are established within the bill to remain in accordance with already existing federal and District laws as well as to protect certain owner-occupied housing accommodations.

Also, like Ban the Box, the bill establishes penalties and provides for a complaint process through the Office of Human Rights.

For more information, please visit or contact our office at (202) 724-8028.

Source: DC Council Newsletter
Ward 5 Kenyan R. McDuffie

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