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THA is Considering Changes To It's Criminal Background Screening Policies

July 21, 2020

Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is considering changes to our current criminal screening
policies. We would like your views and advice by August 31, 2020.

We screen for criminal history as part of our effort to determine if someone would be a good
tenant. We do this for people seeking to live in THA properties. We also do it for persons
seeking our rental assistance to pay the rent on someone else’s housing.

We are considering some changes in our screening rules, for several reasons:

● As a way to predict if someone will be a problem, criminal history has limited value.
Data and research suggest we may be screening out good people unnecessarily. Our
report on this research is on THA’s website here:
www.tacomahousing.net/housingforallreport. That research suggests changes may
avoid these unnecessary exclusions, while still serving our most important purpose of
keeping our housing safe.

● Criminal screening excludes persons of color, particularly black applicants, at a higher
rate than others. If these exclusions are unnecessary, they are particularly unjust.

● These exclusions deprive families of the chance to reunite with a father, mother, child,
or other relative.

● Data shows that depriving a person of housing will make re-offense more likely.
Housing makes re-offense less likely, and makes the community safer.

Below we show:
● our current rules, including those that we cannot change because of HUD rules;
● our proposed changes;
● some other possible changes

 

Click here for more information about current policy, proposed changes and alternatives.

Contact: Ava Pittman

253-274-5581 or [email protected]

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