CPAH honors this day of Juneteenth which marks the end of the last holdout of slavery in Galveston Bay, Texas on June 19th, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. This day of June 19th is regarded as our country’s second independence day.
Last week, my family watched the movie 13th which clearly shows the connection between mass incarceration, race, and injustice. You can watch the full feature of 13th on YouTube.
Although it was released in 2016, it frames so well the conversation we are having around this region, this country, and world. There is no disputing the data – racist policies lead to racist outcomes, and that includes the way our criminal justice system operates.
An individual or family’s access to housing and employment is completely impacted by their experience in the criminal justice system. Landlords and employers will screen out those who have criminal records. The likelihood of having a criminal record is wholly connected to the color of your skin. This translates into a disparate impact on people of color. This is one reason why people of color make up a greater percentage of those who are homeless.
CPAH has work to do to be sure that we are not part of this problem. We are working with our property management companies to reduce this impact. One of the strategies we are focused on right now is permanent supportive housing, which creates lower-barrier housing for people who have been homeless.
Many support this effort. The City of Portland has adopted the Fair Access in Renting ordinance that promotes reducing these impacts through adjusting screening criteria. Washington County, through their most recent housing bond solicitation, also calls for reducing the barriers from the housing screening process.
We would like to share some additional thoughts today from our partner agencies:
Community Partners for Affordable Housing