Finding housing for felons in District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia, 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 District of Columbia that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in District of Columbia
It can be exciting, yet also scary, to re-integrate back into society. That is why the Jobs for Felons Hub site is trying to make the transition a simpler process. We have provided reentry listings for the District of Columbia that can help you get back into mainstream life again. This list will help you extract the resources necessary to obtain temporary or permanent housing, or locate employment. You can also locate transitional housing resources by following this link.
Making the Transition into Society in the District of Columbia
You don’t want to begin any housing or employment search until you make a to-do list. By writing down the activities you need to do, you can make your apartment and job search streamlined and easier. The following activities are suggestions to help get your started.
· Inquire about a transitional residence.
· Schedule an appointment with a HUD-based housing agency about a permanent residence.
· Ask about getting food stamps. You can find out more information by visiting this link.
· Contact area programs about employment training.
· Buy professional attire for job and apartment appointments. Visit District of Columbia thrift stores or discount retail shops. Ask friends or family members about any clothes that they can donate for your job or housing appointments.
· Obtain a copy of your criminal history online.
· Schedule a time to speak to a substance abuse counselor, if necessary.
Temporary Housing in District of Columbia
Information about transitional housing in Washington, DC can be obtained by referring to the transitionalhousing.org website. Many of the resources on the site help people with substance abuse difficulties. Also, review the reentry listings for the District of Columbia when searching for a temporary residence.
Other District of Columbia Housing Resources
HUD also offers felons in Washington, DC the ability to locate permanent housing. HUD, or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, works with felons who are seeking subsidized housing. However, certain felony charges do not qualify. For example, if you were convicted of the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine or committed a sex offense, HUD will not work with you. You need to contact the reentry program through your correctional facility. You can also review the reentry listings on our site.
HUD housing in the DC area is available in the form of townhomes, apartments, single-family residences and mobile homes. When you apply for a subsidy, your income is compared to the area median income or AMI. After a calculation is made and a dwelling is located, HUD pays a portion of the leasing payment and the tenant pays the rest. If you have a very low income, then you may be able to obtain a house or apartment free. You can also look at the housing listed on Craigslist, or find job leads or housing sources through community service organizations or social or faith-based agencies.
Don’t Apply for an Apartment in a Large District of Columbia Apartment Community
It is never a good idea to apply to an apartment that is located in a large apartment complex. A large apartment complex is normally managed by a large property management company. Large companies of this type typically will not rent to felons, especially felons who have just been released from prison. To make your search go more smoothly, search for housing through HUD or refer to the reentry listings on this site.
Obtain Your Criminal Record Online
It is easier to search for apartments or transitional housing when you carry a copy of your criminal history and use it for supporting documentation. Doing so can make it easier to negotiate a lease or find transitional housing. Start by clicking on this link. You only need to pay a small processing charge for the record.
Why Felons Are Typically Denied Housing in District of Columbia and the US
Searching for housing can be strenuous for a felon. That is because no laws have been established to prevent property managers from denying a felon housing. If a landlord believes your criminal history is a liability, he or she can turn down your leasing application.
According to the fair housing laws in the US, discrimination is illegal when the basis of a rental refusal is due to an applicant’s national origin, race, ethnicity, sex, family status, disability, or religion. Any of the categories reference a federally protected class of people, or individuals who can sue for illegal discrimination.
Fair housing laws only support discrimination when the applicant does not pay his or her rent or is evicted. In some instances, applicants are also refused housing when their credit score is bad. Again, discrimination is only considered against the law when a property manager does not lease to people out of prejudice. Extended classes can file suit if a rental denial is based on an applicant’s race, national origin, ethnicity, sex, family status, disability, or religion.
Once more, property managers in District of Columbia and other areas of the United States are guilty of discriminating illegally if their denial results from an applicant’s national origin, race, ethnicity, family status, religion, sex, or disability. You can review the subject of illegal discrimination by clicking on NOLO online.
The Housing Law in District of Columbia
A property manager in District of Columbia must abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. He or she also must know how to draw up a leasing contract or rental agreement. The agreement should set forth the lease term and the occupancy limit.
The agreement should indicate the rental amount and when it is due (usually the first of the month) and how the amount should be paid. To avoid any confusion, property managers should spell out certain details, such as acceptable payment methods (personal check only), the addition of late fees and their amount, or whether there is a grace period.
Details about the security deposit should also be made clear. You can read more specifics on rental agreements by following this link. Property managers must also know how to proceed with eviction. Any leasing or rental decision must be based on reasons of liability or business, not on personal prejudices.
Another form of illegal discrimination, arbitrary discrimination, can happen if a property manager leases an apartment to a person from a certain class but refuses to rent to another person from the same class. For example, if a landlord rents to one felon but refuses the application of another felon, they may be held liable for denying the application. You can review arbitrary discrimination further by clicking on the following link.
District of Columbia Housing Authority
If you live in the District of Columbia, you can refer to the District of Columbia Community Housing Authority (DCHA) for information about housing vouchers and subsidized housing. Currently, the waiting list is closed, however, for obtaining vouchers. An announcement will be made when the waiting list re-opens.
You can also seek information about HUD subsidized housing by visiting the HUD site for The District of Columbia. Further information on housing vouchers can also be obtained by accessing the following link. The aforementioned DCHA oversees a separate rent subsidy program, also known as the LRSP, or local rent subsidy program. While the program is similar to the federal program, it is backed financially by the District of Columbia. The LRSP supplies 700 tenant-based vouchers to people in need, provided they do not move from the District.
The housing choice voucher and public housing initiatives sponsored by HUD enable governmental bodies to expand on their area housing options. Therefore, HUD is designed to encourage people in need to locate permanent housing while giving the private sector the ability to offer help as well.
If you have just been released from a correctional facility, make an appointment to see a HUD specialist as soon as possible. That way, you can obtain the subsidized rental assistance you need. HUD in the District of Columbia features Section 8 apartments and accommodations to individuals whose income falls below 50% of the income guidelines established by HUD. HUD housing applicants, whose income does not exceed 30% of the area median income or AMI, are given priority. Therefore, if you make very little income now, your chance of getting an apartment or similar dwelling is good.
Besides income, HUD bases an applicant’s eligibility for a rental property on the composition and size of their household. HUD also calculates costs covering child care and medical care as well as immigration status, if pertinent. All HUD properties must be regularly inspected to ensure tenants are living in habitable and safe conditions.
District of Columbia Apartment Listings on Craigslist
You can also refer to Craigslist for the District of Columbia for housing. The posters on the site are typically smaller property managers or real estate investors. As a result, their leasing requirements are usually not as stringent as a larger landlord. To begin a search, access the District of Columbia Craigslist site. Click on the “housing” tab at the top of the page. Pare down your search results by adding the rental range.
Reentry Programs in District of Columbia
You can always reference the reentry listings for the District of Columbia as well. Contact us here at the Jobs for Felons Hub site or reach out to us on Facebook. We want to support your efforts in finding an apartment or a job.
The District of Columbia Religious Community
You can also reach out to the religious community in the District of Columbia. Contact your own church or churches in the area about job and housing openings. In addition, you can obtain job and apartment leads from faith-based organizations and social service agencies.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Referrals for housing and employment can also come from friends or close family members. However, never ask a friend or close family member to sign a lease agreement on your behalf. Your name must be listed as a tenant on the lease legally. Otherwise, you could get evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress in a Professional Manner
Show employers and landlords the proper respect by dressing professionally. Stop by your local thrift store or discount retail shop to choose your apparel.
You not only want to look professional, you also want to behave professionally. Ignore any negative asides and focus on being professional.
Maintain Contact with the Programs Featured in District of Columbia’s Reentry Listings
Maintain contact with the programs listed on District of Columbia’s Reentry Listings on the Jobs for Felons Hub site. Stay committed to finding a job and apartment.
Follow a Regular Schedule
Once you begin a job or housing search, it is important to follow a regular schedule. This can be done by following a to-do list and regularly making appointments.