Should Background Checks Be Used at Homeless Shelters?

A recent editorial from the Northwest Herald (Illinois) caught our eye.

In the piece, editor Kevin Lyons makes a good case for homeless shelters to require those receiving long-term assistance to undergo background checks to ensure the safety of the other homeless persons.  Basically, these types of background checks would screen out the more violent individuals, leading to a more secure experience and environment for the rest of the people at the shelters (including volunteers.)

It’s an interesting concept and one that could have many merits.  Obviously, it would have to be studied to find out how background checks could easily be run on people who may not be willing to give their real names (or may not have or know their social security numbers.)

What do you think?  Would background checks allow community homeless shelters to better serve their target populations?

Kristina Taylor
In 1989, Kristina began her career as a customer service representative at the newly formed American Tenant Screen, Inc. Ten years later, she pioneered tenant background screening on the Internet. As a long-standing member of the National Multifamily Resident Information Council (formerly the National Association of Screening Agencies) Kristina gains insight into the trends of the tenant screening industry to better understand the current and future needs of their clients.

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