Automated Background Checks Are Deciding Who’s Fit for a Home
In 2015, Mikhail Arroyo had a debilitating fall. After emerging from a coma, he was transferred to a nursing home in 2016. Months after the initial accident, with the help of a wheelchair and slowly regaining his speech, Mikhail left the nursing home under the care of his mother. The only problem: He had been flagged by a background check agency and was not allowed to move into the new apartment his mother found for them. When he was 20 years old, Arroyo was arrested for a retail theft of less than $150. That single interaction with the law followed Mikhail until 2017, when his lawyers helped him challenge the restrictions from the housing agency. Mikhail is one of thousands of people shut out of housing, education, and jobs because of a criminal record. Clean slate legislation could help people like Mikhail, by automatically clearing records and giving people the second chance they deserve.