Updated December 20, 2022: Alameda County is now the first county in the nation to give formerly incarcerated people who have paid their debts to society a 'Fair Chance' at housing through a newly-passed ordinance.
John Jones III sits in his office at Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, May 4, 2022. The housing advocate, who spent a year-and-a-half experiencing homelessness following his release from prison in 2012, said he found permanent housing in 2020 after Oakland passed a law banning criminal background checks as a condition to housing. He was involved in the campaign to get Alameda County supervisors to do the same on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022 - Photo/caption SF Chronicle
The Fair Chance law – passed with four yes votes and a fifth supervisor abstaining – also bans landlords from advertising that people with criminal histories shouldn’t apply. It establishes that an individual with a criminal record can’t be banned from moving in with a family member. The law, which will require a second vote to be formally adopted, applies only to the unincorporated parts of the county, which include San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, Sunol, Fairview and Ashland; the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, which are part of Alameda county, previously passed municipal laws banning criminal background checks for housing.
The initiative is part of a growing movement in California and across the country to undo the harsh treatment of people with criminal records, with tens of millions of people in the US denied access to jobs, housing, benefits, education and other basic rights due to old convictions.
(Originally posted December 9, 2022)
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will vote on an ordinance for the unincorporated area of Alameda County that will eliminate questions about prior convictions on housing applications - a Fair Chance Housing ordinance, December 20, 2022.
Proponents of fair chance housing laws say they provide legal recourse for tenants who have experienced discrimination based on prior involvement with the criminal legal system.
Supervisors indicated majority support for the “Fair Chance” ordinance — the centerpiece of a package of tenant protection bills that drew public testimony from more than 40 people, most of whom supported the legislation — but said they needed another two weeks to fine-tune the wording.
Formerly incarcerated people face barriers to housing in both private and public rentals, said John Jones III, BOSS Director of Violence Prevention Programs.
Jones knows firsthand how difficult reentering society is, having experienced homelessness for 18 months after being released from prison in 2012. After Oakland passed its law in 2020, he finally secured permanent housing with his partner and three kids.
I want folks to understand that every human being deserves a roof over their heads. Housing stability is directly tied to having stability in every other aspect of life - John Jones III
Just Cities, along with the Dellums Institute for Social Justice, lead the Fair Chance Housing Coalition, which has been a primary driver of fair chance housing laws getting adopted across the Bay Area.
Along with the fair chance housing law, the Board of Supervisors also postponed votes on a “Just Cause for Eviction” ordinance, which would provide a legal framework to govern when and how a landlord can evict a tenant, and a rental housing registry designed to track and enforce code violations in rental properties.
WHAT WE CAN DO:
Attend and speak in person at the meeting at 1221 Oak Street on December 20th
Attend virtually (meetings are live-streamed) and speak online
Submit an e-Comment after the agenda; we will share details once it posts!
Send a pre-drafted email to all 5 County supervisors here - fairchance4all.org/take-action
Download the flyer here.
They ESPECIALLY need to hear from you if you have currently or previously LIVED in the unincorporated area of Alameda County!
Sam Levin in Los Angeles @SamTLevin - Wed 21 Dec 2022 15.25 EST
Read the full article here.
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