Left Out

Relationships can be beautiful, enriching and fulfilling. Most romantic relationships develop into civil unions or marriage. Becoming a dyad expands the availability of resources that may not be obtainable individually. Resources such as health benefits, life insurance policies, joint Tax returns, and land or homes. Among all the benefits and resources made available through marriage, gaining land or a home is by far one of the most beneficial assets one can gain.

Now that we know how a marriage can bring two people together and economically impact them in a positive way, we must now think about if one person in the relationship has a criminal record. Imagine being in a marriage for more than a decade with a person you have brought a home with. Most Americans pay property taxes on their homes which help fund the County, and City in which they reside. Who in the state of Texas, pays $3,390 annually in property taxes.” Having a criminal record did not prevent this justice involved person from being a contributing member of society, paying property taxes, homeowner association fees, and a mortgage every month while married.

Having a criminal record affected this individual after the marriage ended. As we know when marriages end in most cases the two individuals almost never reside under the same roof.  Let’s think about what housing options the justice involved individual has, are they able to stay in the same neighborhood, zip code or county? Sadly most of the answers to those questions are no. Why because policies are in place that allow discrimination towards justice involved people while looking for housing.“ About 90 percent of landlords screen tenants for any criminal history and many applicants to affordable housing are subject to unreasonable screening standards”. Leading to many left without a place to call home. With the odds stacked against them this means they are now faced with homelessness in the same community they helped fund through Taxes. Fair Chance housing would let more people in homes instead of leaving more home doors closed.

Written by: Tesia Davis