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Major Strategy Change—And New Urgency—For Startup’s Background Checks Of Ex-Offenders


The going typically is rough for people with criminal records trying to find jobs, get a loan or secure housing. A background check turns up that history and the individual is out of luck.

With that in mind, in 2017, mother and daughter Teresa Hodge and Laurin Leonard launched a startup to help even the playing field. Called R3 Score, the Baltimore company’s platform aims to provide a more accurate way to assess the potential riskiness of formerly incarcerated applicants.

But, the turmoil of Covid-19 and high unemployment recently convinced the founders to make a significant pivot, targeting consumers, rather than corporations, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other business clients.

Current Black Lives Matter protests, as well as the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on African Americans, has shined a harsh spotlight on racial inequities, making the platform’s goals especially urgent.

“This virus highlights the vulnerabilities of certain populations,” says Hodge. “It comes down to, if your past is going to be used against you in a highly competitive market, it means millions of people will be locked out of economic opportunities, which will lead to higher unemployment.” FULL ARTICLE