In 2016, with the support of Shield-Ayres Foundation, the Roundtable launched an Advocacy Fellowship Program for formerly incarcerated persons with lived experience navigating the criminal justice system and reentering the community. The Fellowship program was such a success that we are expanding it to include an additional Fellowship position for 2017. The new Fellow will be supervised by the Senior Fellow. The goal of the Fellowship program is two-fold: (1) to enhance the capacity of the Roundtable to address the challenges of reentry and reintegration and support social justice in our community, and (2) develop the leadership capacity of the fellow by providing opportunities and mentorship to enhance their professional skills such as research, writing, and coordinating, planning, and leading activities. An additional Fellow will increase the capacity of the Roundtable to organize and lead advocacy work of the Planning Council, focusing on our three key strategic areas: housing, employment, and behavioral health services. The Fellows will jointly support the Reentry Advocacy Project (RAP) to engage formerly incarcerated men and women in the community and will serve as consumer advocates on various local and state task forces and initiatives. Click here for more information about the Fellowship and to apply. Applications are due January 11th, 2017.
Announcing the Release of Locked Out: Addressing Criminal History Barriers to Affordable Rental Housing in Austin & Travis County Report
When someone has been convicted of a crime and has paid their debt to society, then they ought to have an effective second chance in life. The ability to find housing is an indispensable part of that second chance. HUD Secretary Julián Castro
In 2015, the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable undertook the task of assessing the criminal background screening policies of local publicly subsidized housing. This report is the result of that research and it provides an overview of the Roundtable’s findings and recommendations to inform policymakers, housing industry professionals, and other community leaders in better protecting the fair housing rights and overcoming barriers to housing for persons with criminal backgrounds in Austin and Travis County.
The report reviews legal precedent and regulatory actions relating to fair housing for persons with criminal backgrounds, summarizes criminal background policies from area affordable housing properties, highlights promising practices, and recommends an approach and specific actions to move the local conversation forward.
Please review the report and join us in promoting housing policies that protect the fair housing rights of people with criminal records to ensure, in the words of HUD Secretary Julián Castro, that “families who pose no risk to community safety aren’t unduly punished.”
Read the full report here.