Finding housing for felons in Alaska is no easy task and we want to assure you that we understand your struggle. Every month we have dozens of people ask our organization for this information and as much as we wish we had a list of felon friendly apartments in Alaska, this information is too difficult to gather as we don't have enough staff on hand to handle the task.
With that being said, we've done the next best thing. Below is a list of organizations and resources in Alaska that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Alaska
In order to locate housing that is felon-friendly in Alaska, you need to look at all the alternatives. You can receive assistance with housing by working with the local housing authority, also known as the Office of Housing and Urban Development or HUD, scour Craigslist listings or check re-entry programs in your state. Friends and family can also be a good source for a felon seeking housing.
Check Out the TBRA If You Are Currently on Probation or Parole
One of the programs that is Alaska-based is the Tenant-based Rental Assistance program. The TBRA program is designed to provide low-income families with the needed financial assistance to obtain housing that is affordable. The program helps felons lease privately-owned rentals from participating landlords. Eligible applicants receive 12 months’ rental assistance, including security deposit assistance.
Anyone can apply for housing that is now under the community supervision of the state of Alaska’s Department of Corrections for the term of the TBRA program. Families whose income is 60% or lower than the area median income can apply as well.
With respect to felony convictions, the TBRA may exclude anyone who is a lifetime registrant of the state’s sex offender registry, individuals who have a history of manufacturing methamphetamines in public housing communities, or anyone who owes the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) money.
The program may further deny housing to individuals who have a felony record of arson. The TBRA program encompasses an area that is usually no more than 50 miles from an AHFC field office. Field offices are located in the major cities of Fairbanks and Juneau and smaller towns. For a felon to apply for housing, TBRA candidates should work with their parole or probation officer. The PO will ask about eligibility. Obtain further details by clicking on this link.
Conduct a Background Check
If you are a felon who is seeking housing, outside the TBRA program, you first should perform a background check on yourself. You can proceed with this step by clicking here.
If you are not on probation or parole, and cannot go through the TBRA program, obtaining housing can be a challenge. Therefore, you need to know the proper course to take as well as your civil rights. Even if you are rejected for housing because you are a felon, you still do not have any legal recourse you can take.
That’s because, this form of discrimination is not considered illegal. NOLO online states that the forms of discrimination that are considered illegal are those that include race, religion, family status, ethnicity or disability. Some US states have also added gender or sexual orientation to the aforementioned list. Felony convictions are not added to any of the state listings for illegal discrimination.
Therefore, to take up a housing discrimination matter in a court of law, you have to prove that you were discriminated against for one of the stated reasons. For example, it is illegal to discriminate against a felon for drug use, especially if the drug use stemmed from a mental impairment or “disability.” That is because a disability is a protected reason. However, if you were charged with manufacturing and distributing drugs, the landlord has it in his legal authority to turn your housing application down. Any activity that the landlord believes may affect his tenants can be a good enough reason for barring a tenant from housing.
With that being said, a landlord can still get into trouble, for instance, if he rents to a felon who is Caucasian but turns down a felon who is Hispanic. This type of discrimination covers race or ethnicity. Therefore, the landlord can be sued for preferring one felon applicant over another because of a tenant’s ethnicity.
Legal professionals concur that discrimination is only unlawful when it is not applied to everyone in the same manner. In Alaska, and throughout the country, discriminating against a felony conviction is not considered unlawful as it cannot be attributed legally to a protected category. You can find supporting details by clicking on this link.
When making applications for housing in Alaska, it is generally best to avoid applying to property management firms as their rules generally are stricter for felon applicants. The companies always run background checks. Therefore, if you apply to an apartment community, your chance of getting housing looks bleak unless your felony offence happened 10 or more years ago and was non-violent in nature.
Alaska Housing Authority
In Alaska, the Housing Authority is the Housing of Urban Development, also known as HUD. HUD agencies typically feature low-cost rental housing or low-income housing for people with low income or a solid means of support. In certain instances, the housing can be free. Most HUD agencies feature homes or apartments that are move-in ready. If they do not have a home or apartment that can be occupied right away, you will have to sign up on a waiting list.
Housing authorities base your rent on what you make annually. For instance, if your salary falls below the level of poverty, then your rent will be assessed at a reduced rate. Depending on your means of support, you can even apply and qualify for free housing. This kind of availability is different than what is offered by section 8 HUD homes.
While most HUD agencies do have felon-friendly apartments for rent, it is also possible that you will have to add your name to a waiting list. This waiting period can span from three, six or one year after release from prison. Each of the housing authorities’ regulations can vary. Once you are released from prison then, visit a housing authority office immediately to ensure that your name is included on a waiting list.
Again, HUD housing in Alaska makes it possible for lower income families, including felons, to obtain an affordable place to live. Units are subject to certain controls that lower the rental rate. The HUD sets the income and rental limits and acts as a resource for a low-income tenant and HUD landlord. You can learn more about public housing assistance and Alaska’s HUD by following this link.
Alaska Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Craigslist in Alaska, as well as the rest of the country, offers a hopeful housing alternative, especially if you are a felon. That is because most of the landlords are not major apartment leasing firms. Instead, most landlords who advertise on Craigslist are generally advertising a single unit for rent. Therefore, many times, these “small time” landlords will not run a background check. Applicants feel freer to related their past background to an individual landlord who is seeking tenants according to his own personal criteria.
When you visit the Craigslist site for Alaska, choose the state and city where you wish to rent, then find the housing section on the site. Include the minimum and maximum rental prices can to pay. Just make sure, once more, that the listing is not one that has been inserted by a large apartment company. For Alaska, click on the following Craigslist link to get started on your own Alaskan housing search.
Reentry Programs in Alaska
Alaska is home to several excellent re-entry programs for felons. These types of programs help felons to locate both jobs and housing while they adjust to getting back into the mainstream. Programs are designed for women felons, felons who need help with an addiction problems and felons who have previously served in the Armed Forces. You can obtain further information about these programs by clicking on the following link for Alaska: http://jobsforfelonshub.com/reentry-programs/.
The Alaska Religious Community
The religious community in Alaska can be a place for felons to turn who are working at getting back into mainstream society. Religious organizations can also be a resource of hope and help for felons in Alaska. For instance, one resource is Alaska Correctional Ministries, which is a non-profit organization that has worked with the DOC (Department of Corrections) Chaplaincy Ministry since 1980. You can find out more about this organization and how it can support you in obtaining housing by following this link.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Assistance for housing or jobs can also be obtained by contacting or soliciting the aid of friends or family. Ask the people with whom you are familiar to assist you in your search for a home. Perhaps, a friend knows a landlord who will rent to you.
However, never have a friend or family member rent an apartment or house on your behalf. If this discovery is made, you could be evicted, which would do nothing for your character or record. Even if you do not pay the rent for an apartment in which you live, your name should still be listed on the lease. You have to play by the book if you want to secure a long-term residence.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Given the above information, you are now ready to go out and look for an apartment or rental house. Remember that a landlord can legally ask if you have spent time in prison for a felony. Unless your conviction involved using drugs because of a mental disability, a landlord can deny you a place to live. Therefore, looking for a new home can be a challenge. Nevertheless, with perseverance, you can succeed in renting a place to live. The following tips can help you succeed.
Make a Good Impression
First off, it is important to make a first good impression. That means showing up for a rental appointment on time and being neatly attired. Also, behave professionally. Only ask questions that pertain to the rental and your rental needs. It is important to establish a good relationship with your landlord in order to avoid any kind of future disagreement.
Look at Single-occupancy Residences
Also, focus your search on finding a single-occupancy residence rather than looking at units in an apartment complex. Landlords who are renting single-occupancy house are usually more lenient, if not compliant to the people who rent housing.
Be Honest about Your Past
Be honest with a potential property landlord about your past. You can tell him or her about your criminal background once you decide to rent a house or apartment. Don’t go into great detail but provide a brief explanation about your arrest and conviction and demonstrate to him or her that you have moved on and are sorry for your offense. Show him or her why you would make the ideal tenant. If you already have a job and have been making payments on several obligations, you have a much better chance of negotiating a rental agreement.