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City to sponsor housing workshops

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From Staff Reports

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Two workshops about renting with a criminal background will be held from 3-4:30 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. today at the Booker T. Theater at 170 E. Thomas St.

At the workshops, Jack Holtzman, co-director of the Fair Housing Project-Legal Aid of North Carolina, will provide property owners, landlords, potential renters who have a criminal history, their families and other interested parties information regarding new federal laws pertaining to renting with a criminal history.

“This is a collaborative effort to help reintegrate members of our community who are frequently denied based solely on their criminal record, and to address challenges they face when they are unable to find decent and affordable housing,” Rocky Mount Councilwoman Lois Watkins said.

Recent federal fair housing guidance states that it may be illegal for housing providers to refuse to rent to someone because of their criminal background without considering the nature and severity of the crimes and other factors.

“We find that people who were formerly incarcerated or court-involved, face huge barriers in finding stable and affordable housing,” said Commissioner Angela Bryant of the state Post-release Supervision and Parole Commission. “The lack of access to housing makes successful re-entry and post-release supervision almost impossible. Providing housing to justice-involved people is a major help in reducing the risk of re-offending.”

The workshops are free. For more information or to register, call 252-972-1181.

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