Good credit is critical to not only find housing but avoid unusually high security deposits. However, for many of our clients, poor credit is just part of their history. It’s often why they come to us. Yet it can be a vicious cycle.

A landlord runs a credit check on a prospective tenant. The landlord rejects the tenant’s application, but doesn’t tell them why. And they don’t have to. The prospective tenant visits another landlord, who also runs a credit check. Not only does this landlord reject the prospective tenant, but now the number of credit checks against the record also impacts the credit score.

What the tenant might not know, and might not know how to find out, is that in one particular case, the poor credit history, might not even be correct.

Poor credit can be difficult enough to fix with good financial behavior and enough time. But when the credit score has been impacted by identity theft, or even a clerical error by a credit reporting agency, they can become impossible to fix.

This Washington Post op-ed piece shows just how hard it was for a determined reporter whose job it is to fight through bureaucratic rabbit holes with persistence, and who could take the time and resources to get the issue resolved.

Imagine what it must be like for someone who simply doesn’t have the knowledge to navigate the system, or for someone who doesn’t have the time. These hidden barriers could be keeping them out of stable housing and they don’t even know it.