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Fair Chance Housing: Removing Barriers After Incarceration

Yusuf Dahl has been on both sides of the struggle to strengthen America’s vulnerable neighborhoods.

According to the Eight Point Plan for Housing Justice in Cuyahoga County, those with criminal records are ten times more likely to experience homelessness, and those who are homeless are more likely to be arrested--beginning a vicious cycle for those with a record. These individuals face collateral sanctions (both state laws and administrative rules) that can limit a person's ability to find employment, housing, and more. In fact, the same Eight Point Plan cited that 78% of affordable rentals in the County had long-term bans on those convicted of even minor offenses. With housing prices escalating, more than 20,000 people exiting incarceration in Cuyahoga County every year do not have access to a basic need that is vital for successful reintegration.

Yusuf Dahl has been on both sides of the struggle to strengthen America’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. As a teenager, he operated a network of drug houses before being sentenced to prison for 10 ½ years. After his imprisonment, during the depths of the financial crisis, he became an unlikely real estate investor and affordable housing advocate. From a single two-family house in one of Milwaukee’s poorest zip codes, Yusuf built a portfolio of over two hundred residential and commercial units and founded an award-winning property management company.

Yusuf is a former president of Wisconsin’s largest apartment owners trade association and is leading the national effort to repeal the Thurmond Amendment - legislation that imposes a lifetime denial of fair housing protections to persons with a drug distribution conviction. He holds an MPA from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In honor of the 2024 Charles R. See Forum on Reentry in partnership with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, join us at the City Club as we hear from Yusuf Dahl on how to break down barriers and empower those seeking to rebuild their lives.


  • Yusuf Dahl
    CEO, The Century Promise


  • Stephanie Casanova
    Criminal Justice Reporter, Signal Cleveland