A U.S. Cabinet member visited Illinois to announce new public housing policies for ex-juvenile offenders while vice presidential rumors swirled around him.
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro came to Chicago to announce $1.7 million in federal aid to help potential public housing residents under the age of 24 expunge or seal their criminal records.
Local housing authorities will also be told an arrest record can't be the only reason for denying admission to public housing, and HUD would emphasize that so-called "one strike" policies aren't in compliance with federal guidelines.
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Castro feels the policies will reduce recidivism among young people and remove barriers to those former offenders getting a job or going onto college.
"Too often the stigma of their criminal record has sentenced them to a lifetime of limited opportunity," Castro said.
Sex offenders or those convicted of domestic violence or making meth in public housing are excluded from this program.
Castro's Chicago visit coincides with three fundraisers in the area for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. Castro has been frequently mentioned as a potential running mate for Clinton. While U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) thinks it's a bit too soon to be talking about vice presidential picks, he is impressed by Castro, and knows many would be excited by having him on the ticket.
"My Hispanic friends are just over the moon with the thought of that possibility, and I think America should be, too," Durbin said. "We should continue to open the doors of opportunity in politics and in this great country."