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Connecticut Lawmakers Considering Bill To Help Formerly Incarcerated People Find Housing

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness finds that almost 30% of people in their shelters first became homeless after release from the state Department of Corrections. Lawmakers are consideringlegislation that could make it easier to find housing after leaving prison.

The bill would prohibit landlords from considering a potential tenant’s criminal convictions within the 10 years prior to applying for housing.

Earl Bloodworth is the director of the Mayor’s Initiative for Reentry Affairs in Bridgeport. He refers people to resources to help rebuild their lives after incarceration. Bloodworth said some residents have nowhere to go after they serve their time.

“Or you have people that you know they have family in the area but unfortunately they burned those bridges and you know and the family is not willing at this point in time to assist them, they want to see them work things out for themselves,” Bloodworth said.

Bloodworth said he understands some of the concerns that landlords voiced during the public comment period on the bill. He wants to be someone to help offer reassurance.

“What the landlords are looking for is they’re going to take a chance on housing the individuals that may not be fully up and running with employment or they’re being funded primarily by and organization or an agency that, they’re not going to be left in a lurch, if the individual runs into an obstacle or a bump in the road. The landlords want to know they have someplace to go, someone to reach out to,” Bloodworth said.

The Connecticut Coalition of Property Owners opposed the bill. The coalition said it could lead to frivolous discrimination lawsuits. They also wanted a tenant record lookback period starting 10 years from date of release.

Copyright 2021 WSHU

Cassandra Basler comes to WSHU by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. She recently graduated with a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship, which means she has two years to report on an issue anywhere in the world (she's still figuring out where she'd like to go). She grew up just north of Detroit, Michigan, where she worked for the local public radio affiliate. She also wrote about her adventures sampling the city cuisines for the first guidebook to be published in three decades, Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider's Guide to Detroit. Before that, Cassandra studied English, German and Urban Studies at University of Michigan. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.
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