Finding housing for felons in Missouri 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 Missouri, 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 Missouri that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Missouri
Missouri felons can refer to reentry listings by regularly looking at the postings on the JobsForFelonsHub.com site. The reentry listings for Missouri are all-inclusive and will help felons find both housing and work. Some felons can access programs that feature substance abuse services and personal counseling as well.
That is why referring to the reentry listings on the JobsForFelonsHub.com site is an important first step. Use reentry programs as resources to help you re-integrate yourself into the mainstream. Resources of this nature can assist you in getting a rental faster, obtain job training or conduct a job search. Refer to the programs on the JobsForFelonsHub.com site as well as regularly visit the site for both assistance and support.
Transitional Housing and Drug Rehab Services
Besides referencing the reentry listings for Missouri, you can also obtain transitional housing information by looking at the TransitionalHousing.org data base. This platform lists over 5,500 transitional housing shelters. Both the shelter and details about the residence are featured with images. Some of the homes are safe places for domestic abuse victims while other residences are for individuals with substance abuse problems. The housing can be secured for a limited time period, which runs from two weeks to as much as two years.
Other Resources for Housing in Missouri
Besides referring to the reentry information provided on the JobsForFelons.com site, you can also search for houses and rentals through the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Missouri and Craigslist.
Local housing authorities in Missouri and at HUD work with felons to find rentals that meet the applicant’s housing needs in relation to the annual median income or AMI for an area. You need to apply to your local housing authority or HUD as soon as you are released from prison in order to make sure you can get settled into an apartment.
If the agency does not have any move-in apartments available, you will need to include your name on a waiting list. The sooner you follow through and make an appointment, the sooner you will get a permanent place to live. However, if your felony involved a sexual offense or you were charged with the making and selling of methamphetamine, you will need to look elsewhere. HUD will not work with felons convicted of these charges. If you cannot work with HUD, talk to the DOC about the reentry options that are available.
While you are searching for a permanent place to live, refer to temporary housing assistance that is featured by reentry programs or review the previously-mentioned transitional housing database. The reentry listings compiled by the JobsForFelonsHub.com site is one resource you can refer to time and again as you make a transition into the mainstream.
Don’t Apply at Large Apartment Complexes
Again, referring to the reentry programs is the best approach when searching for a rental as large apartment complexes regularly turn down felons. That is because the communities are run by big property management companies that always run a background check. Unless an apartment complex is affiliated with HUD, you should avoid these apartment communities. Instead, refer to the reentry programs that are listed for Missouri or look on Craigslist for your rental needs. Choose those sources that tend to be more felon-friendly.
Take a Look at Your Criminal Background First
Before you start looking at rentals, you need to perform a criminal history search on yourself. It takes only several minutes to perform the activity and you are only assessed a minimal fee. You need this data so you can more easily talk to landlords or explain your situation to anyone who can help you with transitional housing. To begin the process, simply start by following this link.
Why Felons Can Be Turned Down for Housing in Missouri and the US
Once you are convicted of a felony, your status changes when applying for a rental. Unfortunately, legislators in Missouri and elsewhere in the US have not enacted a law that makes it illegal to deny a felon housing. Unless the denial extends to a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, you are out of luck. A property manager can legally discriminate against any housing applicant if they feel a crime the applicant committed can pose a risk to their building or complex.
Property managers in Missouri and all the other US states also are in their right to discriminate against applicants that have a record of unpaid rents or evictions. When discrimination is based more on prejudice than factual data, however, then the discrimination becomes illegal.
Preventing Illegal Discrimination
Discrimination becomes an unfair practice when a landlord refuses to rent to an applicant if the denial is based on the individual’s sex, race, ethnicity, family status, disability or national origin. Therefore, even if you are a felon, you can rent a house or apartment if your felony charge involved drug abuse – but abuse that originated from a mental or physical disability. In this case, the reason for your arrest stemmed from having a disability – considered a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, a property owner can get into trouble legally if they turn down an applicant with this kind of background.
However, that example is an exception to the rule. Most felons are turned down for housing if they apply to a larger apartment complex. Unless the crime is quite old (over 10 years) and was considered non-violent, you usually will have a tough time in your search if you look in a larger complex. Instead, direct your search toward reentry programs that can direct you to housing or spend time looking at the listings on the Craigslist site. Your local housing authority or HUD office is also a better choice. Review NOLO online for a further explanation about illegal discrimination.
The Housing Law in the US and Its Impact on Felon Applicants
Discrimination is not illegal across the board. It can be legal or illegal. If discrimination is illegal, then a property manager is guilty of discriminating against an applicant, based on their religion, national origin, ethnicity, race, sex, disability, or family status. Unless a felon’s charge extends to one of these categories, they will usually be turned down for a rental in a large apartment complex.
When Arbitrary Discrimination Becomes an Issue
As a result, landlords can deny felons housing as long as the decision is not based on a protected class under the regulations of the Fair Housing Act. The protected classes of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, sex and family status should not be considerations of whether an applicant rents or does not rent a house or apartment. The basis for any rental decision should be equitable and fair.
Simply put, a property owner has to put aside their personal preferences when renting a house or apartment and consider the applicant’s history with respect to payment of rent, evictions, credit score and criminal history. If a decision is based more on bias than on factual information or business-related reasons, a property owner can get sued for discriminating illegally. Arbitrary discrimination, which generally is illegal, is further explained by following this link.
Missouri Housing Authority
The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) offers a site online that can help you locate affordable rental housing in Missouri. You can also refer to HUD in Missouri to find a discounted rental for a permanent residence.
Again, once you are released from prison, set up an appointment with HUD or a local housing authority to discuss your housing situation and needs. You may be able to move into a participating apartment community immediately or will have to wait. However, the quicker you schedule an appointment, the sooner you can settle into a permanent residence.
Local housing authorities in the state list heads of households as disabled individuals, elderly people or households whose head of household is predominantly one person, children or a working family.
Missouri Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Missouri’s Craigslist is an idea. platform from which to select an apartment or rental home. Most of the advertisers on the site either are entrepreneurs or own small real estate companies. Therefore, the leasing requirements are not as demanding. Some of the posters don’t even check for a criminal history. Even if they do, they are easier to talk to and communicate your situation and housing needs.
To review the rental listings for Craigslist in Missouri, you can begin by clicking on this link. Once you click on the link, choose the city or town in Missouri where you wish to live. Then, click on the “housing” section that is featured at the top of the page. Narrow down your search further by including your rental range.
Reentry Programs in Missouri
Begin your housing search by reviewing the reentry listings for Missouri. Use this resource to help you find a job or transitional housing so you can locate a permanent residence.
The Missouri Religious Community
Another good resource to turn to when seeking a permanent residence are your community’s local churches or faith-based organizations. If you join a church, ask the pastor if they know of any job or housing leads. You might also work as a volunteer in a community-based program – one where you can also obtain rental or job contacts.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Family and friends in Missouri can also give you the help you need in your rental search. However, don’t make the mistake of asking one of them to lease a rental on your behalf. If you want to make a new start, this is not the way to do it as your name needs to be included on the lease. Otherwise, a property manager can evict you from the apartment.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Visit the Thrift Store for Professional Attire
In order to be successful in any housing or job search, you have to look the part. Therefore, it is important to be professionally attired. To begin the process, visit your local thrift store to find professional apparel. Make sure you purchase a couple of jackets, casual and traditional, to complete your look.
Ask Specific Questions
Show a leasing agent or landlord that you are serious about getting an apartment by asking specific and related questions. You want to establish a good rapport with the landlord. By doing so, you will be able to find a permanent resident – one that you can live in for quite a long time.
Refer to the Reentry Listings
Once more, refer to the reentry listings for Missouri that have been collected by the JobsForFelonsHub.com site and regularly reference the site as well for transitioning and reentry help.
Establish a Regular Schedule
Whether you are seeking a job or apartment, it is essential to stick to a regular daily routine. Even after you’ve rented an apartment, you need to follow a schedule and show you are committed to being a valuable member in your community.