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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Housing Protections for People with Criminal Records

  • Right to housing

The jurisdiction has housing protections for people with criminal records

Having a criminal record can make finding housing very difficult, as many landlords conduct background checks on potential tenants. As a result, individuals with criminal records may struggle to find safe and affordable housing. A criminal record should not be the cause of someone’s homelessness, especially considering the ways in which this barrier disproportionately affects certain populations due to systemic racism. Some cities and states have passed “fair chance” laws that prohibit landlords from discriminating against individuals with criminal records, and other jurisdictions should follow suit.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.0 Reform The jurisdiction prohibits discrimination based on criminal records
0.5 Harm Reduction The jurisdiction limits landlord’s ability to consider criminal records
0.0 Status Quo No laws found
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Housing Protections for People with Criminal Records" https://youthstateindex.com/maps/housing-protections-for-people-with-criminal-records/. Accessed: June 22, 2024.

Right to Housing

The Index is centered around the fundamental human right to housing. A right to housing is the guarantee that every youth and young adult can access and maintain safe and habitable housing. The elements of a right to housing are:

  1. Security of tenure;
  2. Availability of services;
  3. Affordability;
  4. Accessibility;
  5. Habitability;
  6. Location;
  7. Cultural adequacy. 

“There should always be somewhere for everybody to go. We all should be able to have the housing we need. It shouldn’t be something that you HOPE to get, it should be a given. Build more shelters, build more housing.”K. Livingston


These maps are provided as legal information only and should not be used as legal advice for your specific situation. If you need help with any of the issues described on this website, please check out the Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN) directory OR email or call HYLN for help finding a referral to a lawyer.