Finding housing for felons in Arkansas 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 Arkansas, 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 Arkansas that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Arkansas
Housing sources for felons include the local housing authority, also referred to as the Housing of Urban Development (HUD) ,as well as other housing options, such as listings on Craigslist. You can also take a look at the re-entry programs currently featured in Alabama.
Obtain a Background Check
The best way to begin a housing search is to first perform a background check. You can get the data you need by following this link, which allows you to do so for a small charge.
Why the Law Allows Landlords to Turn Down Felons
The search for housing in Arkansas or any other state can be time-consuming and difficult. Therefore, in order to begin a search, you need to be informed about your rights in this regard. You also need to know what kinds of properties are easier to lease. Legally, it is not against the law to turn down a tenant because they have a criminal past. Lawmakers have not passed any statutes that makes turning down housing to felons to be against the law.
According to NOLO online, only certain kinds of discrimination are considered illegal. For a practice to be considered illegally discriminatory, it must be associated with one of the following categories – race, religion, family status, ethnicity or a disability. Sexual orientation or gender may also be included among these types of practices in some of the US states.
NOLO states that landlords, however, can get in trouble for discriminating against a felon who has completed prison time for illegal drug use, especially if the narcotics were taken as the result of a mental disability. However, a landlord can reject any applicant who served time for a felony that was associated with the sale and manufacture of illegal drugs. This type of felony may affect a landlord’s community. As a result, he or she is within their right to turn down a rental application connected with this kind of past.
Arbitrary Discrimination is Illegal if Applied to Felons
With that being said, a landlord still has to be careful about arbitrary discrimination. That means all felons must be treated the same. For example, a landlord cannot turn down a rental application from a felon who is physically disabled yet, say “yes” to another felon who is similarly impaired. The same holds true for a felon who is African-American. A landlord cannot reject his applications and approve the approve the application of a felon of another race or ethnicity.
Therefore, discrimination is considered illegal when each person under a specific category is notetreated similarly. In Arkansas and other US states, turning down housing to a felon is not deemed unlawful as it is not associated with a protected class. This information is further defined by clicking on this link.
When searching for rentals then in Alabama, look at single-occupancy units versus apartments run by major apartment companies. Large apartment firms always run a background check and will not lease to anyone with a criminal history. In some rare instances, you can gain entry if your crime is over 10 years old and was considered non-violent.
Therefore, it is best not to apply for housing at an apartment community in Arkansas as they always check backgrounds and generally will not rent to anyone who has a criminal history. You may be able to gain entrance, however, if your crime was non-violent and is now at least a decade old.
Felon Friendly Housing in Arkansas
Arkansas provides a way for felons to obtain housing through a program, known as “Our House.” Felons who are part of the program are involved in one of three housing programs, each of which is designed to promote sustainability.
All the residents in the program must be willing and able to locate and keep full-time employment. Bed availability in the program for new entrants is on a first-come and first-serve basis. The program works with property managers who wish to support the needs of felons looking for housing. You can find out more about the “Our House” initiative by clicking on this link.
Arkanasas Housing Authority
In Arkansas, the Arkansas Housing Authority is part of the Housing of Urban Development or HUD. This housing authority in the state offers apartments that are affordable for felons and others whose income is below the average median for a neighborhood. If they do not have move-in apartments when you apply, then you will need to be asked to be included on a waiting list. Visit your area’s housing authority or HUD office as soon as possible after your release to make your house search more positive.
The Arkansas HUD will base your rental amount on the amount of money you make annually. The idea of using a housing authority is to rent an apartment or a home that is based on individual affordability. Most housing authorities maintain a list of rentals for individuals that earn less than the median income for their community. As a result, each apartment or home is subject to controls that, in turn, make the housing easier to afford. The HUD sets salary limits for each community too. Therefore, to begin the process, review the following website for Arkansas’s housing authority guidelines.
Arkansas Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Whether you live in Arkansas or in another US town or city, you will find the best opportunity to secure housing is via Craigslist. The advertisers who list homes or apartments on Arkansas’s Craigslist do so with less of a profit motive.
Many of the landlords featured on Craigslist, as well, do not do background checks like major Arkansas rental firms. As a result, you can feel a little more relaxed when looking for housing using this search venue. Even if you talk to a rental agent who plans to check your background, it is simpler to explain your situation to him or her than it is to a corporate firm.
When you visit the Craigslist site, select Arkansas before choosing the city where you want to look for housing. Add the price range you can afford. Just make sure that the listings you are reviewing are not associated with a major rental complex. To review Craigslist listings in Arkansas, click on this link.
Reentry Programs in Arkansas
The re-entry programs in Arkansas permit felons to adjust, once again, to mainstream society. If you would like to find out what programs are featured for Arkansas, you can refer to the listings that were gathered by the Jobs for Felons Hub for the state of Arkansas. Simply click on this link to view Arkansas Reentry Programs.
The Arkansas Religious Community
Besides the re-entry programs that are featured in Arkansas, you can also turn to certain religious organizations for job help and housing. Church membership allows you to check on faith-based programs that provide housing or jobs. For example, any felon with an addiction problem can gain help through Shepherd’s Fold Ministry, which is located in Paragould, Arkansas. You can find out more about other people’s experiences at Shepherd’s Fold by clicking on this link.
Referrals From Friends and Family
You can also ask for housing help from people in your family or from close friends. If you have a family or friend who knows a landlord, all the better. Maybe you can use him or her for a reference. Just don’t allow anyone to rent an apartment for you. Even if you are not paying for the apartment where you reside, you should include your name on the lease. People living in apartments who do not have their name on the rental agreement can legally be evicted.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Establish a Good Rapport
When searching for rental housing in Arkansas, it is important to establish a good rapport with your potential landlord. The relationship you establish is not only helpful to you but to your future dealings. You don’t want to maintain a record where you are moving every few months. You want to solidify your residence. Therefore, in order to make this happen, you need to be punctual for your rental meetings, ask pertinent questions and work at conveying a professional image.
Make the Most of Your Time
Don’t waste your time during your search as well. Make sure you are looking at felon-friendly rentals and talking to landlords that are more lenient when it comes to negotiation. Again, you do not want to look at apartments in major Arkansas rental complexes as your background will be checked and these firms are not felon-friendly. Unless your crime is an older, non-violent offense, it is better to choose a property that is owned by an independent landlord or small rental company.
Be Truthful about Your Past
When you do firm up a relationship with a landlord, be truthful about your criminal history. Briefly point out your mistake and explain how you overcame your circumstances. Show him or her why you will be a good tenant and not a rental “risk.” The idea is to move forward and not dwell on the past. However, you also want to be upfront about your history.