Finding housing for felons in Georgia 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 Georgia, 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 Georgia that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Georgia
Housing resources in Georgia for felons can be located through reentry programs in the state, on Craigslist and through the local housing authority. These are good places to start as they are more felon-friendly and will assist you with your reintegration back into society. Begin by reviewing the reentry programs that have been compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub website. Starting here can make the process less confusing and complex.
Two Programs for Almost-released and Released Felons
1 - The Prisoner Reentry Program Is Focused on Lowering Recidivism in the State
Reentry is not a matter that can be taken lightly in Georgia as the state leads the US in the number of inmates in correctional facilities. According to findings by the Pew Center in 2009, about 1 in 13 indivdiuals are in jail, in prison, on parole or on probation. That compares to 1 in 31 adults nationally. Within three years, about two-thirds of the felons released from prison will usually be rearrested.
Therefore, one program in Georgia, the Prisoner Reentry Program, run by the Georgia Center for Opportunity is committed to lessening the rate of recidivism in the state. Their program mission is to strengthen the families of felons. From their experience, cycling in and out of a correctional system can cause instability, which, in turn, affects a child’s social, intellectual and emotional development. The program identifies with felons who are trying to reenter the mainstream but are also struggling to overcome a number of barriers. You can read more about this initiative by clicking on this link.
2 - Reentry Partnership Housing
One reentry program for housing in Georgia for felons is Reentry Partnership Housing (RPH) – a program designed to provide housing to individuals with felony convictions who remain in prison after they have been authorized by the Parole Board for release. Often, felons make this choice because they do not have any residential alternatives.
However, take note, if you are seeking housing assistance, you are not considered an eligible candidate for this program. RPH partners must provide, through a written contract with third parties, or through direct means, stable housing and food (room and board) to released felons. The goal of the program is to offer short-term assistance financially to help equalize a felon’s reentry efforts as well as enhance his or her capacity to stay crime-free.
The housing providers in this Georgia program are called Grantees. They receive $600 per month for their role, with the term not exceeding a three-month period. In return, the Grantee provides room and board to a parolee or felon during this period. You can read more about this unique reentry option on the Georgia Community of Affairs website.
Looking for a House or Apartments – What You Need to Know
Felons who are seeking rental properties in Georgia are advised by reentry experts not to look for an apartment or home in a large, multiplex complex. Typically, large rental properties run background checks, which will tend to debilitate anyone who is trying to get back into the mainstream once again.
Because of this factor, it is better to review the reentry programs that are listed online through the Jobs for Felons website or to note the apartment and house listings on Craigslist. The local housing authority or the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Georgia is another resource that caters to individuals who have criminal histories.
Begin a Georgia House Search by Getting a Background Check on Yourself
In order to begin a housing search positively, you need to review your own background first. By following this link, you can get a background check on yourself. A background check gives you a tool to use so you reenter the mainstream with less conflict.
The Atlanta Housing Authority
To stay on top of your housing search, carefully review the listings of reentry programs in Georgia first. These programs are more felon-friendly. It is also important to visit your local housing authority. The Atlanta Housing Authority currently has several supportive programs that can help people in the city obtain housing for themselves or their family.
For instance, supportive housing gives at-risk populations stable housing accommodations, including intense support services and case management, to address each applicant’s needs. At-risk populations include people with physical, developmental or mental disabilities, individuals and families who are homeless and youth who are transitioning out of the foster care community.
Housing authorities represent the first efforts in the US to provide affordable housing to people whose income is limited or who do not have a means of visible support. Each housing authority (HA) is designed to meet the housing needs of its community. Some authorities are statewide entities that help people find housing throughout the state. Funds for the HAs come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD.
Besides the above suggestions, you can also reintegrate into society through faith-based programs and churches. Also, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Georgia, runs a transitional Program for Felon Reentry.
Why Rejecting Housing for Felons is Not Considered Illegal
When it comes to providing housing for felons, discrimination is not necessarily considered illegal. That mean felons in Georgia or anywhere else in the US can be discriminated against when it comes to obtaining housing. If a landlord believes a felon’s past crime could pose a threat to his or her community, then he or she can deny a rental application.
Other types of legal discrimination include credit checks and checking on one’s history with respect to evictions or the nonpayment of rent. Both these kinds of discriminations are considered legal as they are associated with a business assessment.
Types of Illegal Discrimination
Discrimination turns into an illegal activity when it affects a legally protected category. Protected categories, under the US Fair Housing Act, include race, national origin, ethnicity, sex, religion, disability and family background.
According the legal platform NOLO online, unless a landlord denies your application for housing based on the fact you are part of a protected category, you can be turned down legally for housing. As a result, a landlord can reject your housing application based on your criminal history, particularly if that history in his or her assessment can affect the security of the tenants. If your felony, for instance, was associated with the making and selling of drugs, then that charge can prevent you from renting an apartment or a house.
Nevertheless, a landlord may still get into hot water if they rent a unit to one felon but discriminates against another felon. For example, if a landlord says no to a rental request from an Asian felon but leases a unit to a felon who is Hispanic, they can get into trouble for arbitrary discrimination.
The concept behind legal discrimination is to make things fair for all members of a group. If one felon gets turned down for housing, then, all felons should get turned down for an apartment or a house. Everyone in a certain group should be treated the same. Unless the discrimination is based on a person’s sex, race, ethnicity, family status, disability, national origin or religion, they can get turned down if they are a felon.
Georgia Housing Authority
Housing authorities in Georgia receive funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD. The agencies were conceived in order to represent the housing interests of people seeking affordable and habitable places to live. HUD then bases your housing on the area median income or the AMI of a neighborhood. If a felon’s means of support falls below the AMI, then HUD or the housing authority steps in to leverage the situation.
If you are unable to obtain housing immediately, you will need to sign up on a waiting list. Therefore, if you have not yet been released from prison, you need to make plans to see the local HA as soon as you are released. Rental assistance is obtained through subsidization or through discounted rent. If your income is very low, then sometimes the rent is free. You can obtain more information along these lines by clicking on this link.
Georgia Apartment Listings on Craigslist
You can also look for housing by means of Craigslist – a very popular alternative for felons seeking housing. Advertisers on the site often are less stringent and will negotiate an agreement that is a win-win situation for both parties.
In fact, some of the landlords on the site do not even check references. Should the landlord run a background check however, you will find it much simpler to explain your circumstances to him or her. If you wish to view the Craigslist offerings, simply click on the following link. Choose the city or town in which you want to reside, then search the listings under apartments and houses.
Reentry Programs in Georgia
If you want to make a fresh start and do it right, then you can rely on the Jobs for Felons Hub site to steer you in the right direction. Review the reentry programs for Georgia on the site to platform a better idea of what is offered.
The Georgia Religious Community
The religious community in Georgia is also a reference on which you can count. Whether you choose to inquire through a faith-based agency or through your local church, you may be able to find housing or jobs through this portal. Georgia Calls is a reentry program that can be used to find regular work that can, in turn, demonstrate your ability to regularly pay for housing.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Family members and friends in Georgia can also provide support and assistance. For instance, you can ask a family member or friend to refer you to rentals. Just be careful about asking someone close to you to rent a unit or house on your behalf. Doing so can get you evicted and make it even harder for you to obtain an apartment or a house. Make sure your name is on the lease, even if you are not paying all of the rent.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
The best way to obtain housing and realize your housing search goals is to stay positive. You also don’t want to waste time on sources that are less than felon-friendly. Maintain a professional demeanor and stay focused on your objectives. Contact Georgia thrift stores to assist you in picking a professional wardrobe. The idea is to build a good rapport with your landlord and come across pleasant and business-like.
Use the above reentry information to get you back into the fold and make an appointment with your local housing authority. Once you find a residence, do all you can to stick with a regular work routine and establish your credibility as a solid citizen in your community.