The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: HUD Rules Could Curb Discrimination Against Formerly Incarcerated Applicants

Also, Texas Attorney General sues to block guaranteed income.

Rows of housing in various colors in San Francisco

(Photo by Kimson Doan / Unsplash)

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HUD Proposes Rule Ending Blanket Denials to Formerly Incarcerated Applicants

On Wednesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced a proposed rule for public housing and HUD-subsidized housing that would end the practice of rejecting potential tenants solely on the basis of a criminal conviction. The rule requires housing authorities to establish a screening rubric that considers other factors. Any rubric would have to factor in how long ago the conviction took place and the relevance of the crime but could include other factors at each housing authority’s discretion. HUD is accepting public comment on the rule change until June 10.

As Next City covered last year, individual housing authorities have broad discretion in terms of how they treat criminal convictions during the tenant screening process, though many still ban any applicant with a conviction. Advocates have successfully pushed housing authorities to end blanket denials of people with convictions, including in New Orleans.

In a statement, National Housing Law Project Evictions Initiative Project Director Marie Clare Tran-Leung said, “HUD’s proposed approach would advance equity, begin to undue government harm, and expand access to public housing for communities whose overrepresentation in the criminal legal system reflects systemic discrimination.”

Texas Attorney General Sues to Block Guaranteed Income Program

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued to block a guaranteed income pilot from getting off the ground in Harris County, according to the Texas Tribune. The pilot would use $20.5 million in COVID relief funds to give 1,900 households $500 for 18 months and is targeted to people in the county’s poorest zip codes. Paxton, who called the pilot illegal and a handout, was acquitted on 16 articles of impeachment in September 2023 for alleged misuse of his office to help a real estate investor who had donated to his campaign.

California Boosting Clean Storage Capacity

In Menifee, California, a gas combustion plant has been replaced by a billion-dollar power bank that will store solar energy, according to Canary Media. The project consists of 1,096 battery containers with 3 million cells, able to power 68,000 homes for four hours before being recharged. 2024 will see the most installations of grid batteries of any year on record, according to Canary Media. According to Menifee’s mayor, the new storage battery is “10 times better and 10 times more efficient, without all that extra work” of the gas plant, which took hours to start up.

New Public Rail Line In LA Faces Criticism

A proposed new public transit line in Los Angeles is receiving scrutiny from both homeowners and progressive student groups, LA Public Press reports. The Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project would connect the San Fernando Valley and LA’s Westside in 20 minutes, about a third of the time that it currently takes to drive that distance. Two design firms were hired to develop options, half of which were for monorails and half of which were for subway transit. A 2022 report found that 93% of people who submitted public comments preferred subway lines, but homeowners prefer a monorail, which is cheaper to produce yet slower than rail transit. Progressive groups are pushing for rail transit but want more seating capacity than exists under current plans. The project could cost around $14 billion to build and $137 million annually to operate.

Arizona Bans Nearly All Abortion, Attorney General Says He Will Not Prosecute

The Arizona Supreme Court upheld an 1864 ban on abortion that predates when Arizona became a state, according to the 19th. There were 14,000 abortions in the state in 2021 and 11,500 in 2022. The state’s attorney general Kris Mayes said he would not prosecute anyone for having an abortion. A 2023 executive order by Governor Katie Hobbs cleared the way for the AG to decline abortion prosecutions. Asked at a news conference after the abortion ban whether the executive order would withstand legal challenges, Hobbs said, “I would not have issued the executive order if I did not think it was legally sound.”


Curated by Deonna Anderson

MORE NEWS

  • Housing has become a partisan issue. Here’s what the change in HUD leadership means for the housing crisis. Governing

  • Through organizing and legislative testimony, incarcerated people are building political power in Washington state. The Appeal

  • Could tearing up an Oakland freeway actually undo decades of racial injustice? Longtime residents are worried about the possibility of gentrification. Oaklandside

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This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: guaranteed incomereturning citizenshousing for alltransportaionreproductive rightsdiscrimination

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