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Mayor Walsh Joins HUD to Announce $100,000 for Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program

April 28, 2016

Fair Housing

Published by:

Fair Housing and Equity

Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program will reduce barriers to housing, jobs and education.

BOSTON - Thursday, April 28, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to announce $100,000 for the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and the Greater Boston Legal Services Inc. to address the challenges justice-involved individuals face when trying to find work and affordable housing. 

"In Boston, we believe in creating a culture of second chances, and a compassionate safety net that gives our young people the opportunity to succeed no matter what," said Mayor Walsh. "We know that housing is often the hardest challenge and I thank the Obama Administration for this funding that will allow the Boston Housing Authority to better support the future of our City."

"This funding will help break down barriers that prevent young people from finding work, getting into school or finding an affordable place to live," said Kristine Foye, Regional Administrator, HUD New England Region.  "We look forward to working with our partners in Boston to open these doors to opportunity."  

Under the Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP), funded through DOJ's Second Chance Act funds, HUD and DOJ are teaming up to help young Americans who've paid their debt to society rehabilitate and reintegrate back into their communities.  JRAP funding was awarded to Public Housing Agencies who have a partnership with a nonprofit legal service organization with experience providing legal services to juveniles.

The BHA will use the JRAP funding to help youth ages 16-24 who live in BHA housing, or who are not eligible to live in BHA housing due to a CORI, to seal their records so that they can be reunited with their families in public housing. The project will also connect these young people with the BHA's Jobs Plus program in Charlestown, other job training programs, and social service organizations. These connections will ensure that the youth receive social support from other young people in the same circumstances, and access self-sufficiency and financial literacy programs that help them build skills for the future.

"Our residents like many of us have experienced setbacks and have made mistakes; especially when we were young. This grant will help us help our young people with job opportunities and housing. Youthful mistakes should not be a barrier for a lifetime" said Bill McGonagle, BHA Administrator. 

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 in the United States, and approximately 185,000 young adults aged 18 to 24 in state and federal prisons.  These collateral consequences create unnecessary barriers to economic opportunity and productivity.  President Obama and members of his Cabinet, though the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, continue to take impactful steps to ensure those exiting the justice system become productive, law-abiding citizens. Today's announcement is consistent with HUD's recently released guidance on the application of Fair Housing Act standards to the use of criminal records by providers of housing and real estate-related transactions, and the recent guidance for public housing authorities and owners of federally assisted housing on excluding the use of arrest records in housing decisions.

To  help alleviate collateral consequences associated with a juvenile or criminal record, JRAP assists young people up to age 24 residing in public housing, or who would be residing in public housing but for their record, by:

  • Expunging, sealing, and/or correcting juvenile or adult records; as permitted by state law;
  • Assisting targeted youth in mitigating/preventing collateral consequences such as reinstating revoked or suspended drivers' licenses; 
  • Counseling regarding legal rights and obligations in searching for employment; 
  • Providing guidance for readmission to school; and 
  • Creating or modifying child support orders and other family law services, and more.