Gov. Phil Murphy marked Juneteenth by signing the Fair Chance in Housing Act, banning landlords from asking most applicants about their criminal records. Advocates say New Jersey is the first state to pass this type of ban the box legislation.
It will help people like Boris Franklin, who was formerly incarcerated and now serves as a board member of the New Jersey Reentry program. He says he experienced housing discrimination because of his criminal record.
“After my release, I applied for several apartments and was denied again and again. I would call and ask if they would consider someone with a criminal record … time and time again, they would tell me, ‘Don’t bother to apply.’ I am truly relieved that this type of discrimination in New Jersey will end today,” he said.
Advocates who fought for the law say the barrier to housing that Franklin and others faced contributes to recidivism and homelessness.