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Policy Watch - North Carolina

Policy Watch - North Carolina Bill to Study the Needs and Solutions to Mitigate Housing Barriers for Individuals with Criminal Records and to Mitigate Homelessness

By: Anastasia Dai



BILL NUMBER: SENATE BILL NO. 583

BILL NAME: Housing Studies-- Barriers and Homelessness

BILL STATE: North Carolina

BILL SPONSOR/CO-SPONSOR: Senator Joyce Waddell [D], Senator Kandie Smith [D]

BILL STATUS: Introduced

BILL SUMMARY:

  • This bill directs the Legislative Research Commission to study housing discrimination and housing barriers for individuals with criminal records as well as homelessness in NC

  • The LRC will identify existing incentives and programs that work to increase the availability of housing and judge the successfulness of those programs

  • The LRC will assess the ability of local governments to leverage existing laws and resources to decrease homelessness

  • The LRC will examine how other states have successfully decreased homelessness

  • The LRC will examine the current housing availability in urban and rural NC and the unique challenges that those areas face to demonstrate the differences between metropolitan and rural NC

KEY IMPLICATIONS:

  • This bill allows for the NC General Assembly to obtain a broad overview of housing challenges for individuals with criminal records and the different challenges that rural and urban residents face

LEGISLATION SUGGESTIONS:

  • There may be factors apart from housing that lead to housing challenges. For example, people will not be likely to move to an area that doesn’t have adequate healthcare or access to healthy foods. Since the issue of housing is intersectional, the community services as a whole should be examined in addition to the mere number of houses available for sale.

  • Since data is a key driver for change, the Center for Rural Homelessness recommends that the findings of the LRC be made public prior to or directly after the 2024 Regular Session of the 2023 General Assembly, the date that the LRC shall report its findings.

  • Housing insecurity and housing discrimination largely impact marginalized, vulnerable populations such as veterans, the elderly, and those with criminal records. Thus, it may be enlightening to include a provision for research into housing challenges for veterans, the elderly, and other at-risk populations.



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