The Justice Department and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Announce New Juvenile Re-Entry Assistance Program
New Re-Entry Program Aims to Reduce Barriers to Public Housing, Employment and Educational Opportunities
In an effort to reduce barriers for justice-involved youth, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced a new Juvenile Re-Entry Assistance Program: a $1.7 million initiative to help Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and legal assistance organizations address challenges to housing and employment among justice-involved individuals.
Through the Juvenile Re-entry Assistance Program (JRAP), DOJ and HUD are working collaboratively to help individuals that have paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities. This program specifically excludes those who are convicted of making methamphetamine drugs, sex offenses or domestic violence.
"The Department of Justice is committed to giving justice-involved youth the tools they need to become productive members of society," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. "Providing meaningful support through housing opportunities, prevention programs and other critical services is vital to our ongoing efforts to reduce recidivism, promote public safety and foster positive results in communities across the country."
Additionally, HUD announced updated public housing arrests guidance to PHAs regarding the use of arrests in determining who can live in HUD-assisted properties. The Guidance outlines that arrest records may not be the sole basis for denying admission, terminating assistance or evicting tenants; and reiterates that HUD does not require PHAs and owners to adopt “One Strike” policies and includes best practices and models of success from PHAs across the nation.
HUD Secretary Julián Castro made these announcements today in Chicago as part of the Obama Administration’s criminal justice and reentry incentive.
“Life is about second chances and offering young people an opportunity to turn away from their mistakes and get back on the right path,” said Secretary Castro. “These grants will allow Public Housing Authorities to help these young people to reach their potential and begin to contribute to their own communities.”
Having a juvenile or a criminal record can severely limit a person’s ability to seek higher education, find good employment, or secure affordable housing. Today, there are nearly 55,000 individuals under age 21 in juvenile justice facilities. These consequences create unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity, and President Obama and members of his Cabinet continue to take impactful steps to ensure those exiting the justice system become productive, law-abiding citizens.