One Strike and You're Out of Public Housing: How the Intersection of the War on Drugs and Federal Housing Policy Violates Due Process and Fair Housing Principles
32 Harv. J. on Racial & Ethnic Just. 57 (2016)
86 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2016 Last revised: 6 Nov 2018
Date Written: August 10, 2016
The one strike eviction policy in public housing raises both substantive due process and fair housing concerns. Under this policy, tenants can be evicted from public housing as a consequence of the criminal activity of their guests, household members or others, whether or not the tenants knew about or participated in the criminal activity. This article describes how the one strike eviction policy in public housing differs from the federal government’s response to crime in other types of housing and shows how the differential treatment is linked to the idea that public housing residents are “undeserving poor.” The article then examines the one strike eviction policy through the lens of the public welfare offense model for strict liability and argues that the one strike eviction policy in public housing conflicts with substantive due process because it unnecessarily imposes a strict liability standard on an important property interest. This article concludes with disparate impact analysis, arguing that the improper application of the strict liability framework is even more troubling because women and African Americans are disproportionately impacted by public housing policies.
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