LA Times: Rent Subsidies for Homeless Ex-Convicts ‘Worth the Risks’


In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times casts its support behind a controversial plan by the Los Angeles County Housing Authority to begin allowing federal Section 8 rent subsidies for homeless ex-convicts on parole or probation. Some critics says it rewards criminals, giving them special treatment and moving them to the front of the line for the limited and much-sought-after subsidies. The Times says, “But that’s shortsighted. Homeless ex-convicts, including many who committed only minor, nonviolent crimes, don’t go away if they don’t get housing aid. Although there are risks associated with the new rule, they’re risks worth taking.”

The paper concludes, “In a county that has roughly 51,000 chronically homeless people — more than any other in the nation — it is only right that some Section 8 vouchers should go to those in acute need. Ex-cons who qualify for the homeless set-aside vouchers are among the most desperate. But they are also supervised and working on changing lives addled by drugs, crime, homelessness, mental illness or some combination of all that. If they have served their sentences and put two years between themselves and a jail cell, does it make sense to deny them assistance? The set-aside program is about identifying those most in need of housing and giving them priority.”

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