The Real Deal National

AOC and Kamala Harris want to reverse rule that evicts public housing tenants over felonies

Under new proposed legislation, public housing administrators would not be allowed to deny housing just because of a criminal record
July 10, 2019 02:21PM

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris (Credit: Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris (Credit: Getty Images)

As democratic presidential candidates look to distinguish themselves from the pack and demonstrate their progressive bona fides, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris are teaming up to strengthen protections against housing discrimination.

The duo proposed a bill that would outlaw the so-called “one strike” rule, which has been on the books since 1996 when Bill Clinton ordered an eviction for anyone in public housing committing a violent or drug-related crime.

NYCHA Polo Grounds Houses (Credit: Getty Images)

NYCHA Polo Grounds Houses (Credit: Getty Images)

In effect, the legislation would prohibit Public Housing Authorities from denying housing only because a resident has a criminal record, The Root reported. It would also limit drug and alcohol testing by Public Housing Authorities, provide additional Section 8 funding for ex-offenders and kick in $10 million in additional funding for homeless service providers.

Critics of the law as it currently stands have said that it allows for entire families to be evicted for the misdeeds of one household member — or even a guest. And along with Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill, it is widely recognized that the law disproportionately affects communities of color.

The bill follows a May exchange between Ocasio-Cortez and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, when Carson stated that he was open to an alternative to the “one strike” rule. Ocasio-Cortez and Harris have wasted no time in testing Carson’s resolve. The proposed legislation also comes after Carson proposed a change that would lift an exemption to allow undocumented immigrants to live in public housing, a move that many say would displace tens of thousands of children. [The Root] — Georgia Kromrei