Everyone makes mistakes, but we all deserve a place to call home. Housing is especially key to helping people with criminal records stabilize, rebuild their lives and find employment. When people return home from incarceration, they often lose hundreds of dollars in rental application fees and weeks of searching for a home, because most housing providers are not transparent about which criminal records will lead to a denial. Representative Matt Willard’s House Bill 180 will create transparency in the rental application process by requiring housing providers to disclose what kinds of criminal backgrounds they deny people for before charging an application fee.
Last year, we helped killed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” in the Louisiana Legislature, but Rep. Dodie Horton has resurrected it with HB 466. This is harmful legislation that will ban the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools. Part of our work at LaFHAC is educating the public about housing discrimination and segregation and that often includes being invited into classrooms to talk to students about their protections under the Fair Housing Act and how to recognize discrimination. HB 466 would make it illegal to teach students about federal civil rights law and their basic protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
In the face of rocketing insurance costs, inflation, materials shortages, and damage from natural disasters, all Louisianans are feeling the strain on housing affordability. To address part of this crisis, legislators have put forward a number of bills to related to the rising costs of insurance for homeowners. This includes insurance regulations, programs to make it easier for homeowners to fortify their homes to withstand future natural disasters, and tax exemptions and credits. LaFHAC’s policy team is carefully watching these bills and will support efforts to provide direct relief to homeowners in the state.