Finding housing for felons in Louisiana 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 Louisiana, 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 Louisiana that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Louisiana
Getting out of prison is a big step – one that can be supported through effective reentry. The JobsForFelonsHub.com site has created reentry listings for Louisiana to help in the process. The vital information will help you re-integrate yourself back into the mainstream so you can, once again, obtain housing and employment. Use this list as a resource while you are performing a job or housing search.
Louisiana Has the Highest Incarceration Rate in the World
According to a news report on the Nolo website, “Louisiana has the highest incarceration in the world.” That statistic says a lot, especially for felons going through reentry. One way the state is trying to improve the situation is to offer an expanded reentry program. The program’s goal is to keep people out of jail and prison as well as save time and lower crime simultaneously.
By providing felons with reentry services, such as anger management, job training and communication skills, the Department of Corrections (DOC) in Louisiana hopes to reduce recidivism – a contributing factor to Louisiana’s high incarceration rate. According to the article, more than 33% of the people released from a state prison return to custody in about three years. However, the expansion of the reentry program in the state aims to help felons stay out of the correctional system once they re-integrate themselves into society once more.
According to the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) website, its reentry program involves several facets. These areas include certified treatment and rehabilitative programs (CTRP), education, job skills and employment readiness, substance abuse treatment, and faith based values development programming. Reentry initiatives and probation and parole information can be accessed, as well, by following this link. Hopefully, by expanding on reentry efforts, the Louisiana DOC hopes it will cut recidivism to the point that it is not a prevalent.
Performing a Housing Search
One of the best ways to conduct a housing search in Louisiana is to schedule an appointment right away with the local housing authority or Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office. HUD agencies make it possible for felons to apply for housing that will meet their residential requirements and do so affordability.
Make an appointment immediately as the office you contact may not have any move-in ready units available, which, in turn, would necessitate that you sign up on a waiting list. This is an ideal option as HUD bases your income, or lack thereof, on your community’s annual median income or AMI. Therefore, some felons are able to get a rental at a large discount or for free.
You can also refer to Craigslist to find a rental or a house. The platform enables you to negotiate with smaller property owners or advertisers whose rental requirements tend to be more lenient.
Avoid Large Property Management Companies in Your Rental Search
What you do not want to do is look for an apartment in a large apartment community. Large property management companies own the apartments and therefore always perform a background search. If you do not want to experience disappointment so soon in your search, then do not choose this approach. Be realistic. Look for housing in felon-friendlier venues, such as transitional housing, the HUD, or by checking out the listings of smaller property owners.
Pay a Small Fee for a Background Search
To get your search launched, you need to review your own criminal background first. To initiate the process, go online and start by following this link. A small fee is assessed for the service. Use the background information to assist you in negotiating your lease terms.
Discrimination - How It Affect Felons
To most people, discrimination is an ugly word. However, discrimination is regularly practiced in business. Therefore, it is defined as legal or illegal. For example, it is legal to discriminate against a loan applicant, based on his or her credit score. If their credit score is too low, then you have it in your right to deny them a loan or to charge extra interest on an approved amount.
You can also deny an applicant housing if he or she has not paid their rent at another residence. Felons can be denied housing based on their felony too. If a property manager feels the charge might influence the well-being of their tenants, then they can deny a felon a rental based on that reason alone. Unfortunately, no law in the US prevents this from happening.
This type of activity can be rather disabling as most individuals view discrimination as an unfair activity. However, discrimination is legal as long as the reason involves a business transaction. When it turns into a legal issue is when the basis for it is prejudice.
If you apply for housing and your application is refused because of your family status, race, sex, age, ethnicity, disability or national origin, then you are in your right to sue the decision-maker or property owner for his or her refusal to rent to you. Therefore, you can actually obtain housing if a property owner turns you down as the result of a felony conviction for illegal drug use if the use stemmed from a mental or physical disability. As a disability is a protected class, the property owner cannot turn down your rental application for this reason.
According to the US Fair Housing Act, again, felony convictions are not listed as a protected class. Therefore, you normally will be denied housing if a crime you committed in the past is considered a possible risk to tenants living in a complex. However, if the crime came about as the result of a “disability,” then a property manager needs to review your application with care. For more information about illegal discrimination and the protected classes, refer to NOLO online.
Housing Legislation and Felons
Basically, discrimination becomes an illegal practice when a property owner bases their reason for refusal on a bias versus fact. As a result, when you are turned down for housing in Louisiana or any other state in the US, it is done as the result of your felony history. If you have served time, however, for a non-violent offense, you may be able to rent an apartment, particularly if the crime is over a decade old. However, if you were involved in a violet crime or your crime is recent, the chances are slim that you can rent an apartment in a larger apartment complex.
A property manager, however, still needs to be extra careful in how he or she proceeds in denying an applicant for housing. For instance, as stated, a property owner can find himself or herself in front of a judge if they refuse the application of a felon charged with illegal drug use and the drug use stemmed from a mental or physical impairment.
In order for a property owner to be fair in this case, he or she must base their decision on fact and make sure that it is not influenced by a person’s ethnicity, race, sex, family status, national origin, or disability. You can get a better understanding about arbitrary discrimination by following this link.
Louisiana Housing Authority
The Louisiana Housing Corporation or LHC works in connection with the HUD in Louisiana to ensure that felons obtain the housing they need. The LHC assists families and others with rent and utility payments and provides supportive resources for housing for disabled individuals and homeless people. Housing authorities and corporations represent the needs of low-income renters so they can match them with participating property managers.
Your first contact out of prison should be your local HUD office or the LHC as you may need to sign up on a waiting list if you cannot get into a move-in ready apartment. The agency follows the Fair Housing Act in providing housing that is affordable to various heads of household. For subsidization purposes, heads of households are elderly or disabled individuals or households that comprise one person, children or a working family.
Louisiana Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Again, Craigslist is an excellent resource for anyone looking for an apartment or house to rent. Usually, the advertisers on the site are entrepreneurs or people who are small real estate investors. Therefore, their criteria for selecting tenants is not as strict. Some of the advertisers do not even do background checks. Even if they choose to perform a check, it still is easier to explain your situation to someone who is a smaller property owner.
To review the Craigslist offerings for Louisiana, start by clicking on this link. Next, select the city or town in which you plan to reside. Follow by clicking on “housing” at the top of the site. You can short-list your selections by inputting your rental range.
Reentry Programs in Louisiana
To stay motivated in your house or job search, make sure you retain the reentry listings for Louisiana for reference purposes. The listing, compiled by the JobsForFelonsHub.com can assist you in finding transitional housing while you look.
The Louisiana Religious Community
Another avenue you can travel down in your housing search is the Louisiana religious community. Refer to faith-based organizations or ask the local pastor at your church to refer you to housing or job leads. You might also consider volunteering for a community-based program where you can ask for assistance in finding a job or house.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Asking for support from friends or family can also help you find a rental house or apartment. However, never ask a friend or relative to sign a lease on your behalf. Your name must be on the rental agreement and you must be listed as an occupant. If you have someone else rent an apartment, you may be evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Now is the Time to Shine
Now is your time to shine and make a good impression on the people you meet during your housing or job search. In order to begin the process, drop in at the local thrift store and buy an ensemble. Make sure that your apparel is crisp looking and professional.
Besides looking sharp, you also want to make sure you arrive at your appointments on time. Show up about 15 minutes early for a rental consultation or a job interview. Ask pertinent questions and stick to the subject. Make sure the rapport you establish is a good one with the rental agent or owner.
Review the Reentry Listings
Review the reentry listings that the JobsForFelonsHub.com has compiled. If you cannot find a rental in the meantime, you can always seek out a transitional housing program for your shelter needs.
Stick to a Regular Routine
Once you get an appointment, maintain a regular working or job-hunting schedule. Show that you are committed to living in the mainstream.