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A. Mass incarceration is a national and local crisis and restoring the rights of people affected by mass incarceration is a national priority.

B. The U.S. Department of Justice has estimated one in every three adults in the United States has either an arrest or conviction record.

C. Studies have found that private criminal databases pull source information from inadequate records and lack accountability procedures to ensure that the database records provided to Housing Providers are accurate. Housing Providers in conducting criminal background checks are relying on such inaccurate information in evaluating housing applications.

D. Formerly incarcerated persons face barriers to access to both private rental and publicly subsidized affordable housing.

E. Homelessness is a critical issue in Berkeley and formerly incarcerated people are disproportionately affected by homelessness, which can prevent a formerly incarcerated person from getting a job, from visiting with their children, and from fulfilling other needs that are fundamental to reintegrating with the community after incarceration.

F. The unmet housing needs of formerly incarcerated people in Berkeley are an acute challenge to the dignity, public health and safety, and equal opportunity for this population and the broader community.

G. Research has found that access to housing reduces recidivism, and the lack of housing can be a significant barrier to successful reintegration after incarceration.

H. Reliance on criminal history to select tenants impedes formerly incarcerated persons from gaining access to housing in the City of Berkeley, to the detriment of health, welfare, and public safety of the City’s residents. (Ord. 7692-NS § 1 (part), 2020)