Housing advocates laud amendments that strengthen landmark criminal justice bill

Fair Share Housing Center Deputy Director Rev. Eric Dobson has issued the following statement in response to amendments the Assembly adopted today to the Fair Chance in Housing Act, A1919:

Fair Share Housing Center thanks Speaker Coughlin and Chairman Wimberly, working with the other sponsors and legislative leaders, for significantly strengthening the Assembly’s version of the New Jersey Fair Chance in Housing Act today by adopting a floor amendment that provides a remedy for individuals who suffer from housing discrimination.

A1919 is meant to address the systemic racism underlying our criminal justice system by limiting the ability of landlords to discriminate against Black and brown New Jerseyans on the basis of prior criminal records. This discrimination increases recidivism and ensures that the legacy of over-policing in Black and brown neighborhoods continues to follow individuals for years after their release.

The version of the bill the Assembly adopted today will ensure justice for prospective tenants who have suffered from housing discrimination and gives the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office the tools it needs to ensure that those facing discrimination get relief if the Division on Civil Rights finds that a landlord has violated the law.

We are looking forward to the Assembly and Senate passing this bill at each of their next sessions and sending this legislation to Governor Murphy’s desk in the next month so we can begin dismantling the legacy of a flawed criminal justice system in our housing policy.

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