Emergency Free Housing Grants for Felons in US – Felons need housing assistance for a variety of reasons. The cost of rent in the United States of America is increasing with each passing day which is making it increasingly difficult for felons to afford when they are on a tight budget. Further felons also face difficulty in locating safe and affordable housing in their area of residence.
Fortunately, there are government assistance programs and nonprofit organizations that provide housing assistance to needy felons. A lot of housing assistance programs are administered largely by the federal and state governments. Housing grants for felons are free and you need not repay them, unlike loans. Government grants are considered a gift and you can use the voucher or grant to pay for your rent and utility bills as well. This guide will throw light on different housing assistance for felons and how to apply for them.
Highlights of this Post
What Are The Different Sources From Which Felons Can Receive Housing Assistance?
Housing is a major struggle that felons face immediately after being released from jail or prison. While some are fortunate to have family members or friends waiting for them some may have no place to turn to. As a result, they end up on the streets and resort to living out of crime which lands them back in jail after some time.
Unfortunately property owners or landlords are not willing to accommodate felons. Following are the different resources that felons can use to look at emergency housing options. Some of these resources also help them with employment and food assistance are:
HUD Assistance Programs
You can find direct and useful information about how to access affordable and safe housing from the official HUD website. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development assists low-income individuals including felons with a variety of affordable housing solutions and apartments.
Search Engines To Find Housing Help For Felons
Many platforms enable felons to locate emergency housing or financial help on a short-term basis. They have filters where you can search using the keyword ‘felon friendly apartments’.
Some popular search engines are Craigslist, Zillow’s Community Pillar Program, Zumper, etc. allow streamlined search and enable people to find apartments at a reduced price without any background check. Search engines make it easier for exit offenders to avail of housing and get a roof over their heads.
There are nonprofit organizations in every state of America that offer housing assistance to low-income individuals including felons. The primary objective of nonprofit organizations is to assist families and offenders in preventing homelessness.
They provide shelter assistance to disadvantaged families. For instance, people with special needs, convicts, and people suffering from HIV can receive assistance from a variety of nonprofit organizations that are funded by the state government. For example Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, etc.
There are religious institutions and local churches available throughout the United States of America and felons can contact their local religious and faith-based organizations and churches to meet their housing needs.
Eligibility Criteria And Documents Required To Receive Housing Assistance For Felons
Even though the eligibility criteria of housing assistance programs may vary depending on your location and the type of program you are applying for, the general condition requires felons to fulfill age, citizenship, income, and household size criteria set by the program or organization to receive housing assistance from the government.
Certain circumstances will make the application of felons more attractive if they’re found eligible. Priority may be given out to the following.
- Homeless felons who have no place to call home or those who are at the risk of being homeless
- Those who are suffering from a severe medical emergency
- Candidates whose rental expenses consume around 50% of their monthly income
- Candidates who are currently living in a condemned apartment
- Those who are a victim of domestic violence.
Following is the list of documents that you need to submit along with your application form. The list may vary depending on your location and the type of government assistance program with which you are applying. If you’re applying for the HUD housing assistance program then review the guidelines and rules before applying.
- Citizenship as well as legal status certificates
- Proof of income such as pay stubs for a minimum of three months or more and bank statements
- Original birth certificates
- A valid Social Security number
- Criminal background check
- Documents stating your current residence
- Benefits that you are receiving through other welfare and government assistance programs for instance food stamp
- Tax forms
- Credit score check
- List of your area of residence over the past five years.
It is important to make copies of relevant documents that you have submitted to the authority and the application form for your records. You can also keep a log of the type of program you are applying to, whether you have followed up and other important details. The process will help you to stay organized Since many times government agencies lose relevant paperwork and you have to procure the documents quickly at short notice.
What Are The Available Housing Assistance For Felons?
One of the most important options for felons is public housing. The United States federal government assists felons who are unable to find safe and affordable housing by providing them with public housing programs.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development administers Free grants for felons and ex-felons from government. Eligible felons who opt for this program will get an apartment that is owned by the government. Government-owned apartments and housing complexes are available throughout the country and are available either for free or at a reduced monthly price.
How To Apply For Free Emergency Housing Assistance For Felons?
Felons who can fulfill the low-income guidelines set by HUD become eligible to receive assistance under the public housing program. Felony offenders and low-income individuals receive housing assistance if they can prove they are a citizen of the United States or legal aliens and have income within the program guidelines.
To apply you need to reach out to a public housing agency in your area. The public housing agency will provide you with all relevant information about how to access housing assistance for felons and pay your rent.
What Are The Available Housing Grants For Felons?
Following is the list of housing grants for felons and ex-felons.
Felons HUD Rental Assistance Programs
Felons require clear information on where to get cheap housing. HUD, the federal agency for Housing and Urban Development, offers assistance. They provide information on where to locate housing grants for criminals within budget. Despite the fact that Housing and Urban Development does not award grants, they will result in alternatives for low-income housing.
- There are several easily accessible local shelters for felons. You can visit https://www.hudexchange.info for complete information. The site has filters by state & city wise.
- Homeless Counseling Service. For guidance & advice to homeless felons, HUD is a perfect way to go. To talk to a professional housing advisor, call (800) 569-4287.
- Public Housing, Housing subsidies are offered by regional public housing authorities (PHA). These homes are referred to as “scattered residences.” Residents may pay the Public Housing Authorities a maximum of $50, 10%, or 30% of their gross income. Thus, a source of revenue will have a higher possibility of being taken into consideration. Sexual and violent offenders are not eligible. Anyone with a criminal record involving drugs would also not be taken into consideration.
Free cash assistance from the government is provided to ex-felons as a part of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The main objective of the program is to offer time-limited cash assistance to low-income families including ex-felons who can meet the eligibility criteria and achieve self-sufficiency in their lives.
The program provides cash assistance so that individuals can fulfill their basic needs like food, range, shelter, clothing, transportation, and so on. The criteria of the program may vary depending on your state of residence; however few states can impose restrictions on felons with specific convictions.
Felons face a major hindrance to locating safe and affordable housing for themselves and their loved ones. Fortunately, affordable and safe housing is available for eligible felons under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program sponsored by the HUD. Section 8 rental voucher program is a government-funded program that is available in all states of America.
Under this program, a participating property manager or landlord will offer to rent a house or apartment to the eligible candidate at a reduced price of nearly 60 to 70%. Felons with criminal records are mostly rejected due to the strict eligibility guidelines of the program. Nevertheless, Section 8 is not an easy option but can be helpful for a lot of felons who are looking for long-term housing solutions.
Are Felons Accepted Into Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program?
Felons will be disqualified from subsidized and Section 8 rental housing programs if they have committed serious felonies such as the following
- Felons who were registered on sex offender registry
- Felons whose conviction involved producing or manufacturing methamphetamine within the federally funded subsidized and low-income assisted housing.
Every state has its eligibility criteria that can disqualify felons from applying for and receiving assistance under the Section 8 housing choice voucher program. A lot of counties and states in the 1990s started introducing strict eligibility criteria for subsidized and Section 8 housing to deter crime.
Such stringent guidelines have worsened the situation of ex-felons to be accepted into the program. Felons have to fill out a standard application which is available on the official website of the HUD or can consult a local Housing Authority and submit an application. You must mention that you are an ex-felon. It is a nice way to demonstrate your dedication and commitment to becoming a productive citizen and restarting a normal life.
A grant award of $200,000 is received by the Tennessee Department of Correction that assists ex-offenders in finding stable and affordable housing after being released from jail or prison. The corporation in partnership with the Tennessee Housing Development agency provides transitional and temporary housing to convicts who have expired their sentences.
The corporation addresses the fact that access to safe and affordable housing is significant for anyone leaving jail and this helps to lower the likelihood of reoffending and provides rent assistance up to 60 days of housing for felons who can meet the eligibility criteria. If you’re looking for a transitional housing provider then you can contact the Tennessee Department of Correction by visiting its official website or dialing 615-741-9326.
The Reentry Partnership Housing Program is a viable resource for felons under parole or probation supervision of the Georgia Department of Community Supervision. Georgia felons who do not have a place to stay after being released from jail or prison can apply for the RPH program to access housing and food assistance.
The objective of the program is to offer short-term housing assistance for a minimum of six months and to help felons to re-enter society and remain crime-free in his or her lives.
The reentry partnership housing program involves collaboration between state agencies for instance the Georgia Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Council of Accountability Code Judges, and Georgia Department of Corrections. Citizens can get a fresh start and become self-sufficient with this program.
A lot of States and cities in the United States of America have separate and local reentry programs which assist felons and ex-felons to attend some sufficiency. The programs provide a wide array of services such as housing assistance, job placement, budgeting, financial counseling and mental health assistance.
A comprehensive directory of reentry programs is provided by the National Reentry Resource center. The program provides different initiatives for instance the Pathways to Justice Careers Program, Reintegration of Ex Offenders Program and so on. To avail housing assistance for felons and ex felons you can visit the National Reentry Resource Center website.
The Second Chance Act Grants administered and funded by U.S. Department Of Justice’s Office Of Justice Programs supports local, state and tribal governments including nonprofit organizations to improve outcomes for individuals returning from federal and state prisons, juvenile facilities and local jails and reduce the rate of recidivism.
National Reentry Resource Centre Works in partnership with the Second Chance Act Technical Assistance Providers and focuses on housing, employment, family reunification, substance abuse treatment and many resources to help felons reintegrate into the society successfully.
Organizations That Help Felons With Housing Assistance
The first and foremost place a felon comes immediately after being released from prison is halfway housing. It is also known as a residential reentry center that assists ex-convicts and felons to transition into the community smoothly.
Residents during their stay time have to follow strict rules and regulations, fulfill their duties, and be on their best behavior. Violation of any rules will send them back to prison. Many times prisoners choose to stay in a halfway house due to lack of housing assistance or other options.
What are the pros of Halfway houses for Felons?
Even though it is not the best housing choice it comes with a few advantages such as the following
- Trustworthy And Constant Security
Halfway House is a viable housing resource since it accommodates prisoners and felons from all security levels. You need not worry about your safety and security while staying in this place. Residents are also monitored during their stay in halfway housing.
- Better Access To Shelter And Food
Similar to jail felons having access to food and shelter halfway.
What are the cons of Halfway houses for Felons?
- No freedom : This is like a prison. Every time every movement will be monitored. So, when a resident applies for a job, to be admitted, they must provide proof from their employer.
- Everything is Public. There will be zero privacy because as per your criminal background, you need to be monitored all the time.
A non profit organization operating in Thurston County, Washington provides affordable apartment units. The aim of the organization is to create as well as maintain safe, affordable, decent and healthy rental homes for the needy population.
Running since 1992 the organization has successfully created affordable rental housing in the county. Around 5000 low income families have accessed clean, affordable and safe long-term rental housing. Needy felons will not be deterred from assistance if they approach the organization for housing help.
An all-providing religious organization that assists people in times of need is Catholic Charities USA. The organization has helped people fight against poverty for 100 years and has assisted them with food, healthcare, housing, employment, transportation, and many many other ways.
Felons can also find housing assistance and financial assistance programs by checking the official websites of Catholic Charities. This is a popular choice as it provides more flexibility and freedom and provides more in-house privacy and freedom compared to Halfway Houses.
A popular nonprofit organization that helps people with utility bills and rent assistance and enables them to get affordable and low-cost housing is the Salvation Army.
They also provide emergency loans to those in need. You can call the hotline Salvation Army at 773-205-3520 to locate homeless prevention and emergency housing assistance.
Felons who are unable to qualify for government assistance programs or help from nonprofit organizations can locate short-term housing assistance and financial help by dialing 211.
This resource assists people in times of their need and around 4 million individuals throughout the United States of America have received help with the housing crisis from the United Way.
The organization has experts who promptly connect individuals to organizations from government agencies and nonprofits that can help them locate safe and affordable housing.
The Volunteers of America provides a lot of assistance to needy individuals and families. People with a criminal record that have been incarcerated can turn to Volunteers of America in times of their need. They provide programs like homeless shelters, transitional housing, supportive services, and case management.
A self-learning and self-supported recovery housing program designed for individuals who are recovering from substance abuse including ex-felons is Oxford House. Oxford House provides free housing while felons apply for government assistance programs and are working towards stability. Oxford House has a zero-tolerance policy and is run democratically.
A nonprofit organization known as Fortune Society offers a wide area of supportive services to felons including education, housing, and employment services.
Fortune Society provides support and advocacy for criminal justice and operates in New Jersey, New York City and Rhode Island. The nonprofit organization offers free or affordable housing, employment and education to people with criminal records.
You can visit the official website to learn more details and how to apply for them. The nonprofit also provides applications to ex-felons for Internet access, gas vouchers and free government money.
A residential self-help nonprofit organization known as Delancey Street Foundation offers felons vocational training, employment opportunities, education support, and even transitional housing assistance.
The residents of the housing assistance program get to learn necessary skill sets and get jobs in different enterprises that are operated by the foundation like restaurants, catering services, and moving companies.
The foundation has locations spread throughout the United States of America like California, New York, New Mexico, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It is dedicated to assisting ex-felons in numerous ways and helping them attain self-sufficiency. You can call 415-512-5191 to get assistance from this foundation.
A faith-based nonprofit organization working nationwide is Prison Fellowship which offers supportive services and housing assistance to ex-felons in America through multiple programs. The organization provides guidance, mentoring, financial aid, reentry assistance, advocacy for criminal justice reform, and so on.
Prison Fellowship Reentry Programs provide supportive services and resources for eligible ex-felons who are looking for housing, financial, and employment assistance.
Find Shelters for Felons Online
It is really interesting that some filters to search can only show “felon-friendly” apartments. Here are a few:
There are many different types of shelters available on Craigslist. There are a variety of properties available that are held by different landlords. You stand a high probability of being accepted.
If you’re looking for an apartment where crime is tolerated, try your luck on Craigslist, but try to avoid property managers. There is a strong probability of finding accommodations with modest property owners because it is evident that those who have committed crimes are typically ignored by landlords
Zillow’s Community Pillar program
Landlords lower their high standards and encourage disadvantaged people to apply for this program.
Zumper can be a good resource for felons. It includes a “felon-friendly” filter that makes searching easier. You can use this website to look up shelters that don’t demand a background check.
Convicted felons find it challenging to locate safe and affordable housing. Fortunately Federal and States government social programs and help from nonprofit organizations are available that assist individuals with criminal records with free or low-cost housing help. Felons who have not committed a heinous crime can be eligible to receive housing assistance under Section 8 voucher program or HUD public housing. As long as you can meet the eligibility criteria of the program, follow the right application procedure, and submit relevant documents within the deadline you can qualify for housing even with a felony record on your hands.
Frequently asked Questions
Now we are going to tell you about some frequently asked questions regarding Top Housing Grants for Felons in the US.
Are there any housing grants for felons?
Yes, there are housing grants for felons to help them out. The federal government and other big organizations have come forward to help out the felons with housing assistance. But you have to research a bit and search at the right location to find out these grants.
Is it hard finding an apartment or properties if you are a felon?
Yes, it is quite difficult to find an apartment when you are a felon. Most of the landlords run background checks and they are not willing to rent their apartment to a felon. When you are a felon you should not be disheartened by this fact and you need to search for other places.
Can I get an apartment with no job?
If you only depend on grants then it is not possible for you to get an apartment. The landlords need reassurance that you have the ability to pay the rent at the right time. It is also important for you to show a proof of employment or your salary slip. It will increase the chances of getting the apartment.
How to find shelters for felons using search engines?
There are search engines Craigslist and Zumper that help the felons find shelter. The best thing about these search engines is there is a felon-friendly filter that helps to locate apartments and properties.
Can former offenders receive federal grants?
Yes, former offenders are eligible for government funds. Keep in mind that government grants frequently go to non-profit and educational organizations; these organizations may then utilize the money to support resources for ex-felons.
Are felons eligible for business loans?
Yes, convicts are eligible for business loans, and they may also profit from lending initiatives that cater to disadvantaged groups, such as small company grants for minorities. Although it may be adverse to some lenders, a criminal record does not automatically disqualify a borrower.