WORK IN PROGRESS: BARRED FROM HOUSING

 

The streets below are still quiet when Nancy Jordan starts her day; getting ready for work, arranging her 6 year-old son,

Adonis’, schedule, and confirming appointments with her clients.

The 39 year-old social worker lives in the living room of her elderly mother’s one bedroom apartment with her son. Nine

years ago, she was released from prison in New York after a three year sentence she served for second degree assault.

Since her release, Jordan has built a career in social work.

Jordan has a savings account, has never has issues with drugs or alcohol, she has not been diagnosed with any mental

health issues and owns a car. Despite maintaining a good record, she can’t get her own housing, whether it be through

the labyrinth of New York City’s affordable housing programs, or through private housing. Her only option is to save to

buy a house.

While the New York Mayor’s office states that the female population of New York state prisoners are decreasing, this

doesn’t address the fact that women released from prison are shunned from housing and the remaining population will

be underprepared to maintain their freedom. The June 2015 Fair Chance Act has helped address employment discrimination

for this population, but housing is relatively unregulated and landlords, including NYCHA, are able to deny

housing to people because of criminal convictions and without clear explanation for the reasons people are denied

leases.

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