Soon the Los Angeles County Housing Authority will be helping a select few homeless probationers and parolees secure adequate housing. But what seems like a positive move is receiving criticism from people who don’t think criminal offenders should be getting the “hand-out.”
According to this LA Times editorial, the Los Angeles County Housing Authority currently hands out 22,000 Section 8 vouchers. These vouchers allow people to secure housing in apartments or homes at the expense of the County.
Currently, 510 of these vouchers are set aside for the homeless and none of them are reserved for probationers or parolees. Instead, those homeless must be in a case-managed program and have been crime free for several years. Like all other Section 8 beneficiaries, none of the selected homeless were allowed to actively be on probation or parole.
But that will change in just a few months.
Soon, the period of being crime-free or out of prison will be shortened to two years, and homeless probationers and parolees will not be disqualified from participation.
Some are saying the Section 8 spots should be reserved for others, those who haven’t broken laws. But what these critics don’t realize is that secure housing can decrease recidivism. A former inmate with a home is far less likely to commit another crime than someone who is homeless.
Also, those who are actively on probation or parole are required to keep up with the terms of their supervision, doing things like maintaining employment, attending counseling, and participating in treatment—all things that make them less likely to commit crimes and more likely to be a nicer neighbor.
Housing is just one difficulty that ex-cons have to face once they are released from prison. And finding adequate housing can be difficult, particularly with a violent or serious criminal conviction on your record.
Things like employment are similarly difficult to nail down with a criminal record. And like housing, employment plays a major role in whether or not someone will commit future crimes.
These consequences of a criminal conviction are the type that last a lifetime. While jail time can be extremely difficult to deal with, it’s temporary.
The best way to avoid these lifelong consequences is to avoid a conviction altogether. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help with that.
If you are charged with a criminal offense and are in need of representation, we may be able to help. From charges of drug possession to domestic violence or even rape, we have experience defending clients against an assortment of serious allegations.
Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.