Finding housing for felons in Hawaii 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 inHawaii, 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 Hawaii that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Hawaii
When you are released from prison in the Aloha state, refer to the reentry listings for Hawaii. These listings, which were compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub website, enables felons to find the resources necessary to adapt, once again, to mainstream society. Besides this resource, you can also find housing through your local housing authority or by reviewing the apartment and house listings on Craigslist.
All these resource tend to be felon-friendly and will enable you to avoid the frustration of seeking shelter in a large apartment community. Large apartment complexes often check backgrounds. Therefore, any criminal record is a red flag and the applicant is regularly turned down.
A Hawaiian Reentry Program that Offers Housing
Hope Services in Hawaii offers residential housing programs for felons and others who need a place to stay. For example, in West Hawaii, the Emergency Housing Program offers emergency housing as well as regular meals for women and men who are homeless. Check-in begins at 5 pm for 14-hour shelter services and closes each day at 7 AM.
Program participants also receive case management support. The program is funded by the county of Hawaii, a human services grant, the United Way, the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Supportive Housing program and an emergency shelter grant. Besides the West Campus, people can also seek housing support at an East Campus location and through transitional housing.
Other Venues in Hawaii
Again, base your housing search, at first, on smaller individual housing rentals or on transitional housing sources. Do not try to seek an apartment in a large multi-plex community. The idea is to stay focused on getting housing, not on becoming frustrated. Again, most large property management companies do not tend to be felon-friendly.
Therefore, you need to concentrate on looking for a home by reviewing the reentry listings on the Jobs for Felons website or by taking a look at Craigslist. The local housing authority or HUD in Hawaii can also help you in your house search. Use common sense in your search and look at your search from a realistic and pragmatic stance.
Perform a Personal Background Check First
In order to perform a housing search, it is a good idea to get a background check on yourself first. By following this link, you can begin the process. Use the background check as verification and as a means to help you in your search. A small fee is charged for the check, so it is worth the small expense.
Next, you need to basically understand why the law usually does not look favorably on felons who are seeking housing. While this fact may be unfair, you need to understand how the system operates so you can direct your search in areas that can help you reach your reentry goals.
Rejecting Housing: Why It Is Considered Legal
Discrimination sounds like a “bad” word. However, discrimination is acceptable and unacceptable legally. When it comes to business transactions for instance, it is perfectly legal to base a loan decision on one’s credit score. If your credit score is poor, there is a good chance you won’t obtain funding for a mortgage or other type of loan. Either that, or you will have to pay a much higher rate of interest than people who have a good credit score. This form of discrimination is associated with a financial or business transaction, and therefore stands as a reasonable assessment for accepting or rejecting a person’s loan application.
When it comes to housing, the rejection of a felon’s application may be termed as acceptable. That is because a landlord has it in their right to turn down an application of an individual who they, in their estimation, believe may pose a risk to their community. So, if you have a charge on your record for making and selling illegal substances, you can get turned down instantly.
Illegal Forms of Discrimination
According to the Fair Housing Act, discrimination take on a more sinister form when it becomes biased. Protected classes, per the Fair Housing Act, include those people whose discrimination is based on national origin, race, ethnicity, sex, religion, disability or family status. The legal site, NOLO online, corroborates this stance by adding that anyone who is rejected for housing who is not part of a protected class can legally be turned away.
Arbitrary Discrimination – How It Can Get a Landlord into Trouble
However, the law in Hawaii and elsewhere in the US can get tricky if a landlord practices what is known as arbitrary discrimination. For example, if a felon applies for housing who was arrested and served time for the use of illegal drugs and gets turned down, the landlord may be charged with illegal discrimination. If the felon used the drugs because of a mental disability, then they are part of a protected class and therefore it is illegal not to consider their application.
Arbitrary discrimination reaches into the territory of preference and is based more on preference or prejudice than on reason or fact. Therefore, the idea behind discrimination that is legally based makes the decision to rent equitable. Unless discrimination extends to an individual’s race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, family status, religion or disability, they can get turned down for housing based on their criminal record. You can read more about arbitrary discrimination by following this link.
Hawaii Housing Authority
Housing authorities in the state of Hawaii work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD to offer housing that is affordable to felons and others whose income falls below the median income in a community. Housing authorities in Hawaii and elsewhere were formed so people could seek habitable places to live within their current budget. The Hawaii Public Housing Authority is dedicated to this goal – helping people seek affordable housing without worry of discrimination.
Hawaii Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Again, Craigslist is an excellent source for apartment and housing listings. Many felons choose to look on Craigslist as they can deal with the advertisers much easier. Usually, the landlords on Craigslist are real estate investors that are renting individual units or houses. Some of the landlords on the site forego background checks, thereby making it much simpler to negotiate leasing terms. If you wish to review the Craigslist offerings for Hawaii, all you need to do is follow this link. This link features the current listings for Honolulu. Click on the top listing for housing to review the current rental apartments and homes.
Reentry Programs in Hawaii
Getting a new start and reintegrating yourself in the mainstream is possible through one of various reentry program. Begin you journey by looking at the sources gathered by the Jobs for Felons Hub site. These listings will empower you to make a more positive transition. Click on this link for Hawaii to begin your review.
The Hawaii Religious Community
Religious organizations and churches are also available to help felons who are seeking jobs or housing. For example, Makana O Ke Akua is a faith-based non-profit that helps men reenter society. Residents live in a structured, clean and sober environment. You can also gain assistance through your local church, if you are a member, or ask for help at one of the social service agencies in the state. Religious organizations and faith-based non-profits can also be contacted by phoning toll-free numbers outside the state.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Referrals from friends and family in Hawaii can also give you the positive support and help you need when searching for a home. For example, you might ask a close friend to refer you to a landlord he or she knows. However, don’t use someone’s friendship or support to obtain housing on your behalf. Make sure you are included on the rental agreement. Otherwise, you could get sued or evicted. Even if you are not paying all of the rent, you should contractually be shown as being part of the household.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress for Rental Success
Hopefully, the above information can help give you the motivation you need to get begin a housing search. The world may not always be hospitable. However, seeking help is a positive way to overcome any barriers. When making a housing appointment, make sure you are dressed for rental success. Dress professionally and behave professionally when you meet with a rental agent.
Ask Pertinent Questions
Ask pertinent questions and stay focused on your goal of obtaining an apartment or house. A first good impression will help you start out your search on a positive note. You want to build a good relationship with your landlord so you can maintain a good standing in your community.
Continue to Stay on Track
The listed reentry information can also make a transition easier into mainstream society. Once you do find a place to live, stick to a regular work schedule. Make it your goal to become a viable and useful member of your community.