Finding housing for felons in Idaho 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 Idaho, 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 Idaho that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Idaho
When your prison release date finally arrives, it can be a moment of both joy and concern. After all, you have to face the world again and an uncertain future. Fortunately, the Jobs for Felons Hub website has compiled reentry listings for the state of Idaho. Use the list as a resource to find a job and housing. It can reduce some of the resistance a felon faces when he or she takes their first steps mainstream society.
Do Not Apply for Housing at a Large Apartment Complex
Besides the above list, ensure your success for finding shelter by referring to the apartment and house listings on Craigslist. Also, make an appointment with your local housing authority in Idaho. Forego the frustration of applying at a large apartment community. Large apartment communities often check backgrounds. Therefore, the communities frequently turn down felon applications.
The Idaho DOC – How It Can Help in Your Housing Search
Fortunately, in Idaho, the Department of Corrections (DOC) begins preparing felons for release from day one in order to streamline reentry. The IDOC is committed then to working with felons to help them meet the challenges they will face once they leave prison life. Some of the challenges include getting a job, looking for housing and making an adjustment to family life. A pre-release manual is distributed that gives felons directions on how to follow through on obtaining an identification (such as a driver’s license), writing a resume or renting an apartment or a house.
Look for a Smaller Rental
Most housing search specialists suggest that felons base their house search, initially, on smaller apartment communities or rental houses. They also recommend transitional housing as an alternative. Seeking to live in an established apartment complex can be a source of disillusionment as the communities are run by large property management companies.
Therefore, to ensure success in your reentry, it is best to apply to agencies or landlords that tend to be more felon-friendly. Again, look at the reentry listings for the state of Idaho on the Jobs for Felons Hub website to give you the motivation to continue on your search.
Perform a Background Search on Yourself
In order to begin your house or apartment search, you should first conduct a background search on yourself. Doing is a simple matter and can be done by following this link. The process is fast and easy and can be done for a minimal fee. If you want to know how your background appears to a potential property owner or employer, you need to have this information in tow.
Once you have this information, you will have a tool in which to negotiate. You also need to know a little about your civil rights with respect to housing. Felons can be turned down for housing or apartment rentals legally. While this fact may seem unjust, it still is a built-in component in the system – one that is legally justified.
Most people think of discrimination in negative terms. However, discrimination can be a legal or illegal activity. In most business transactions in Idaho and the US, discrimination forms the basis for a business decision. For example, checking one’s credit is a form of discrimination as is reviewing one’s history for evictions or non-payment of rent. Discrimination is often considered a legal activity when it is used for a business decision or activity.
When a felon is rejected for rental housing, it is frequently due to his or her criminal history. That is because property owners have it in their right to reject the housing application of anyone that they consider a potential risk. Therefore, if your felony consisted of the manufacture and sales of illegal drugs, then you can get turned down automatically in Idaho as well as anywhere else in the US.
According to the Fair Housing Act, felons are part of a non-protected class. Therefore, their application for a rental can be turned down. Protected classes, via the Fair Housing Act, are people who are discriminated against because of their national origin, ethnicity, race, sex, disability, religion or family status. The legal site NOLO online, further elaborates on this point.
Nevertheless, in the state of Idaho as well as elsewhere in the country, a property owner still needs to be on guard, especially if he or she is found to be arbitrarily discriminatory. For instance, if a felon applies for a rental apartment and was sentenced for illegal drug use, the landlord may be sued for illegal discrimination, especially if the applicant’s drug use stemmed from a mental disability. As a disability constitutes a protected category, it is considered illegal to reject a housing application for this reason alone.
Arbitrary discrimination is an amorphous form of discrimination but can be proven as it is based more on one’s bias than it is on fact. Therefore, any discrimination that is legally based is one that treats a specific group of rental applicants similarly. Unless the discrimination extends to an applicant’s national origin, ethnicity, sex, family status, disability or religion, he or she can be rejected for housing based on his or her criminal history. You can read more about discrimination that is arbitrary by pointing your browser and following this link.
Idaho Housing Authority
In Idaho, housing authorities combine their efforts with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD to provide affordably priced housing to felons and other people who do not meet the annual median income (AMI) for a specific area. The Idaho Housing and Finance Association features a list of housing authorities on their website.
If you want to schedule an appointment with your local housing authority, it is recommended you do so as soon as you are released from prison. While housing authorities list move-in ready apartments regularly, sometimes applicants need to sign up on a waiting list. To give yourself the best chance then, you need to schedule an appointment without delay.
Idaho Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Craigslist, as mentioned, is an excellent resource for anyone in Idaho looking for housing that is affordable and easier to obtain. Usually, the property owners on the site are smaller investors. Therefore, their rental requirements are not as stringent as larger property management firms. Some of the advertisers will even forego the required background check.
Whether they run a check or not, they are easier to negotiate with or talk to about your circumstances. For Craigslist house and apartment listings, simply click on the following link. Choose your preferred city or town before viewing the ads that are found under the category of “housing.” You can provide a rental range to short-list your choices.
Reentry Programs in Idaho
To get acclimated to the mainstream, it helps to review your reentry choices. The Jobs for Felons Hub site has compiled listings that can get the ball rolling. Click on the reentry listings for the state of Idaho to see the featured listings.
The Idaho Religious Community
You can also find a resource through churches and faith-based agencies if you are seeking a home. It is also helpful to ask for help from your local church. Your pastor may know of a facility or program that helps felons transition once again into society.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Ask family members and friends for support as well. They can either vouch for you when you apply for an apartment or refer you to a rental too. Just make sure you do not use anyone to sign a lease on your behalf. Doing so could get you into trouble legally. That is the last thing you need when you have just been released from the correctional system. Make sure your name appears on a rental contract even if you are not paying a large share of the rent.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Present a Professional Appearance
In order to begin your housing search, make sure you present a professional appearance. Whether you are dressed casually or more formally, make sure your dress is neat and colors neutral. Making a first good impression is a positive first step. When making an appointment to look at a rental, ask questions associated with the rental of the property. Behave and look professional for any rental appointment.
Refer to the Reentry Information
The reentry information mentioned can also make your transition from prison life easier. You can use it as your first resource to get you motivated to search for a place to live.
Stick to a Routine
Once you find a place to rent, make sure you maintain a regular schedule, whether you are looking for work or working on the job. Make it your primary goal to become a valuable member of your neighborhood and community.