According to the Nevada Homeless Alliance 2019 Point in Time Homeless Census, a total of over 5,000 homeless individuals are living in the Las Vegas area, of which 28.7% are women, and of that count, 11.0% of respondents cited incarceration as one of the top three reasons for their homelessness.

Each month, approximately 200 women are released from incarceration in Nevada, many times to unsafe environments such as the streets and previous abusive relationships, recidivism is inevitable. Hand in hand with incarceration is homelessness, making this a public safety issue that needs to be addressed as a community.

Unfortunately, the barriers to living a productive life are very discriminatory. Larger management agencies have policies in place that prevent individuals with criminal convictions from renting in their communities. In the state of Nevada, and many others, even affordable housing is off limits if your conviction is under seven years old, and there are no legal protections against this act.

Only certain kinds of discrimination, such as that based on race, ethnicity, religion, family status and disability are recognized as illegal. Many states and some localities have added others, such as gender and sexual orientation, but convicted felons are not on any state’s list. (Under federal law, however, it is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant who has a felony conviction for drug use, but a landlord can discriminate against someone with a felony record for drug sale or manufacture.)