Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, applauded an announcement today from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that it will award $100,000 to the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) through DOJ’s Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP). HACLA has partnered with Public Counsel, a non-profit law firm in Los Angeles County and the largest in the country, to administer the grant and help ex-offenders rehabilitate and reintegrate into their communities.
“I am pleased that the Administration is taking steps to help our youth access affordable housing,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters said. “It is especially important to engage legal aid organizations like Public Counsel to help expunge and correct records because of the negative effects a criminal background can have on housing, employment, education, and more. While this grant is a step in the right direction, policymakers must do more to remove the barriers that prevent ex-offenders from fully re-integrating into society. I will continue to work with the Administration and with my colleagues here in Congress on making sure that ex-offenders have fair access to safe, decent, and affordable housing.”
The funding for HACLA and Public Counsel is part of a $1.75 million grant to public housing authorities and non-profit legal service organizations across the country. JRAP assists youth up to age 24 who live in public housing or who would be eligible if not for their records. In addition to expunging, sealing, or correcting records as permitted by state law, the program assists in other efforts such as reinstating drivers’ licenses, providing counsel on job searches, and helping with family law services.