New Jersey's caught plenty of attention this year with new laws and bills. While some are controversial and keeping residents in a transitional phase (walking back to your car for your reusable shopping bags has become the modern-day walk-of-shame,) one of New Jersey’s new laws isn’t getting enough attention.
Bill S250 ScaSaAa (3R) is one of the few new developments in the state that shows genuine potential in helping people.
Straight from the NJ Legislature, Bill S250 is the “‘Fair Chance in Housing Act’; [which] establishes certain housing rights of persons with criminal records.”
Before passing Bill S250, landlords and housing authorities would heavily consider a person’s criminal record in determining their eligibility for housing assistance and overall move-in approval.
As of this year, landlords and housing authorities in New Jersey can no longer consider criminal records when determining a person’s suitability when applying to live somewhere or for housing assistance.
This is huge for people with minor records that may have impacted their eligibility in the past.
Of course, we want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but does this new bill create a loophole for registered sex offenders and murderers on parole who are trying to make ends meet too?
Presently, the biggest concern around this new legislative shift is who will be able to slip through the cracks. While S250’s approval was designed to make the process for people struggling to make ends meet in New Jersey less discriminating, some citizens are wondering how grey the area is between minor criminal records and hard-core offenses.
Housing rights are a big step for New Jersey as more than 3 million New Jersey residents are currently living under the poverty line – regardless of a criminal record. This new legislation is significant and will surely help pave the way for the state’s housing crisis.