From behind bars to … the streets? Bay Area residents with records struggle to find housing

“It’s supposed to be when you leave prison, your punishment stops. Unfortunately, the punishment begins.”

Housing struggles are a reality for many Bay Area residents, but they’re even more acute for the estimated one in five Californians with a criminal conviction, leading to higher rates of homelessness for formerly incarcerated individuals.

“For many people, they remain homeless for years and years,” said Sonja Tonnesen, co-founder of Oakland-based Root & Rebound, which advocates for people who have been incarcerated. But momentum to change that is building. Root & Rebound recently released a housing “toolkit” for formerly incarcerated renters — a lengthy document that explains their rights and how to protect them — and is holding training sessions for community members.

Marisa Kendall in The Mercury News, June 21, 2019