What good are reentry programs, if you have nowhere to live?
Updated: Apr 27
70 million Americans have criminal record and they face “collateral consequences” that make it difficult to obtain employment and housing, among other necessities. This is especially true for the 19 million with felonies. Finding apartments that accept people with felonies is incredibly hard.
Formerly incarcerated people sleep on friends’ couches or in their cars or in apartments under someone else's name, as landlords can deny their application solely based on their conviction. As long as they are not violating the Fair Housing Act, landlords can deny applicants (and 80% of them look at criminal history).
There are programs that support people coming out of prison, but they only help so much, if people are barred from safe, stable housing. Similar to employment (Honest Job's focus), people who are working hard to rebuild their lives deserve a chance at housing, too.
Some landlords are doing just that, by treating applicants as individuals vs. immediately rejecting anyone with a past conviction:
“So many landlords and property managers will immediately screen someone out for almost any kind of criminal history. Context is so important to understand the journey that person’s on, and that’s really the thing that we’re trying to understand.” - Rosten Callarman, owner of 24 rental units in Abilene, Texas
Read more stories of formerly incarcerated people’s struggle with finding houses after being released - and their efforts to improve things for other justice-impacted individuals: https://www.texasobserver.org/formerly-incarcerated-texans-housing-after-prison/
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