Duquesne University, Housing Authority Team Up to Help Public Housing Residents

A $100,000 Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP) grant will enable the Duquesne University School of Law and the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP) to assist current and potential public housing residents with juvenile record expungements.

Under the guidance of Assistant Clinical Professor Tiffany Sizemore-Thompson, 10 student attorneys in the School of Law's Juvenile Defender Clinic at Duquesne University will visit each of the HACP housing sites, where they will conduct intake interviews and provide juvenile expungement consultation, advice and representation.

"We'll do pro-bono expungement representation for people up to 24 years of age who are at risk for being evicted from public housing because of their juvenile record or who cannot get into public housing because they have a juvenile record, which excludes them from being eligible," said Sizemore-Thompson. "If we come across someone with an adult record, we will refer them to the law school's Civil Rights Clinic, which works with adult expungements."

The Juvenile Defender Clinic-one of Allegheny County's few no-cost providers for juvenile expungement representation-offers holistic representation to its clients in order to address as many needs (i.e. social work, mental health) as possible. Sizemore-Thompson said she hopes to begin the HACP site visits by November.

"This grant will help young people who have paid their debt to society to get back on the right track, to find stable housing and secure sustainable employment," added HACP Chairwoman Valerie McDonald-Roberts.

Pittsburgh's single-largest provider of affordable housing, HACP offers low-income public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers for approximately 20,000 residents. Their housing communities include Allegheny Dwellings, Arlington Heights, Bedford Dwellings, Glen Hazel, Hamilton-Larimer, Homewood North and Northview Heights.

"We are so happy about the opportunity to partner with HACP on this initiative," said Sizemore-Thompson. "The ability to access quality, affordable housing like that offered by the Housing Authority is a great first step toward productive citizenship-we're thrilled to be able to offer this service to the affected housing communities."

The JRAP funding was presented through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.