Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 2019 Affordable Housing Forum highlights new study on ex-offenders’ access to stable housing

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 5, 2019: 2019 Affordable Housing Forum highlights new study on ex-offenders’ access to stable housing

Dozens of local and business advocates gathered in the lobby of Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum this week to discuss ways to bring more affordable housing to the city’s ex-offender population at the 2019 Affordable Housing Forum, hosted by CommonBond Communities.

A panel reviewed the results of a collaborative study that examined 10,500 households in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa between 2010 and 2017 and showed three key findings:

  • Only four of the 15 criminal offense categories they looked at — fraud, assault, property and major drug-related offenses — were common factors in negative housing outcomes.
  • The effect of having a criminal background severely decreased after two years for those with misdemeanors and five years for those with felonies.
  • Other factors, such as being young, single, childless and/or low income, also had a significant impact on housing success.

Mike Bare, research and program coordinator for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, said resources can make the difference.

“We make a tremendous investment when we incarcerate somebody, we should make an equal investment when they (get out).”

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