HUD ex-offender housing rule a smart move

HUD ex-offender housing rule a smart move

Gazette Column
America should be a country of second chances. This should be a nation in which each individual is judged on his or her own actions and merits. We don’t need to blindly trust, but we must step away from stereotypes that keep certain segments of the population from reaching their full potential, or bouncing back from past mistakes. This week the nation took a significant step toward that a goal when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released new guidelines for housing providers. Instead of universally and automatically banning anyone with a criminal record from renting or purchasing a property, landlords must now consider each individual’s specific circumstance. Landlords of federally-subsidized housing or in the private rental market who use blanket bans of potential clients with criminal records…
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Why ’70 Acres in Chicago’ matters in Iowa

Why ’70 Acres in Chicago’ matters in Iowa

Gazette Blog
Documentary screening, discussion planned for Friday night My first introduction to Cabrini Green, a 70-acre housing complex in Chicago, came via sitcom. This was likely your introduction too, even if you didn’t recognize it. The name Cabrini Green was never used in the 1970s sitcom “Good Times,” although the housing project was featured in video during the opening and closing credits. And while some of the challenges of living in poverty within a housing project were part of the scripts, the show barely scratched the surface and provided a warped view of the real people who made a life there. “Good Times” was set in inner-city Chicago, a CBS sitcom spun off the earlier shows “Maude” and “All in the Family.” It featured two families — the Evans and Woods…
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Unique federal program focuses on CR families

Unique federal program focuses on CR families

Gazette Column
Local advocates plan for when funding, resources end Cedar Rapids is one of only five cities in the nation chosen for a federal demonstration project to help homeless or near homeless families with an open child welfare case. Kelli Malone, chief program officer at Four Oaks, serves as project director of Partners United for Supportive Housing in Cedar Rapids, or PUSH-CR. The program currently serves 66 families — 80 parents and caregivers and 139 children. “One of the goals of PUSH-CR is to keep enrolled families preserved and unified,” Malone said. “If children are already living with relatives or in foster care at the time of enrollment, we want to get them back as quickly as possible with their family.” It’s this aspect of the program, and the supports in…
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