Finding housing for felons in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Rhode Island
If you have just been released from prison, you can find the necessary support and help by referring to the Jobs for Felons Hub site and reviewing the reentry listings for Rhode Island. Each reentry listing is meant to help you find a job or housing solution so you can acclimate yourself more easily into mainstream society.
Reference the Jobs for Felons Hub site frequently to stay on top of your searches for both careers and apartments. You can also access information about transitional housing by referring to the following link.
Re-entering the Mainstream in Rhode Island
When searching for housing or jobs in Rhode Island, you will need to make a checklist of what you need to do. Making a checklist is essential as it helps you stay on track while you reintegrate yourself back into mainstream living. The following activities might be added to your checklist:
· Contact sources about acquiring transitional housing.
· Call the local housing authority of HUD office about obtaining a permanent home (apartment).
· Contact employment training programs about getting job education and support.
· Make inquiries about receiving low-income housing information or help with substance abuse issues. You can obtain some of this information by accessing this link.
· Shop and buy professional apparel at a thrift shop or discount retailer for job and housing searches.
· Obtain a personal criminal history.
Transitional Housing in Rhode Island
You can obtain information about transitional residences in Rhode Island by clicking on the link at TransitionalHousing.org. The website displays thousands of temporary residences in both Rhode Island and the rest of the US. Many of the homes lend help to people with substance abuse issues. Depending on the program, you can apply for transitional housing for stays that last from two weeks to two years.
Other Rhode Island Housing Resources
When you are released from prison, make it a priority to schedule an appointment with a HUD representative, either at a HUD office in the state or at a local housing agency. The Housing of Urban Development or HUD collaborates with social agencies and housing authorities to help felons and other low-income people obtain affordable and habitable housing.
The apartment leasing program presented by HUD is designed to compare an area’s annual median income or AMI with an applicant’s income or means of support. A subsidy is paid by the government on the amount of money that the applicant cannot afford.
Don’t Start Your Housing Search at A Big Apartment Community
Stick to searching for housing using the above methods. Don’t begin your search at a large community. You will only waste your time because applications normally are not accepted from felons at apartment large apartment complexes.
Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal Record
You will need to obtain a copy of your criminal record before you begin to search for an apartment or transitional housing. The record, which can be obtained for a minimal cost online, can help you in negotiating the terms of a lease agreement or help you with getting transitional housing. You can start by clicking on this link.
Why Felons Are Normally Denied Housing in Rhode Island and the US
Currently, there are not laws on the books, either in Rhode Island or the US, that prevents property managers from turning down felons for apartments or other types of housing. A property manager can refuse you housing if he or she believes you are a liability or pose a possible threat to their rental unit or community.
The US Fair Housing Act in the US says that it is considered illegally discriminatory to deny housing to a rental applicant when the decision is based on the applicant’s ethnicity, disability, race, national origin, sex, family status or religion. Gender and age, in some instances, is included in the listing. The listing is related to federally protected categories of people, any of who can dispute the decision of a property manager who denies them housing. If the decision is based more on bias than a reason or fact related to business, it is illegal. For a property manager to be equitable, he or she must respond to all applicants the same.
Nevertheless, it is legal and acceptable for a property manager in Rhode Island or in other US states to deny housing based on an applicant’s leasing history. If he or she has proven to be a non-payer or has had a series of evictions, the property manager can deny an application. A refusal can be made as well to applicants with poor credit scores.
Any time a property owner decides not to rent to an applicant because of their ethnicity, race, sex, disability, religion, family status or national origin, they are acting illegally. According to the US Housing Act, all housing applicants must be treated similarly. This mandate also refers to felons as a group. Therefore, it is considered legal to deny housing to felons as long as the reason for the refusal does not include a protected class. You can read more about illegal discrimination by clicking on NOLO online.
The Housing Law in Rhode Island
Landlords in Rhode Island must follow the laws established for anti-discrimination and make sure the housing they rent is habitable. In addition, they must be able to create a written rental agreement and know how to take the necessary steps in order to evict a tenant. When housing discrimination is deemed illegal, a property manager is acting on a rental decision based on their prejudice. If an applicant is refused, it must be due to the applicant’s leasing record or credit history.
Arbitrary discrimination is considered illegal if a property owner rents an apartment, for instance, to a felon but turns down the application of another felon. Because the discrimination is based on preference and is arbitrary, it is considered illegal as well. You can find out more about this type of discrimination by following this link.
Rhode Island Housing Authority
The Rhode Island Housing Authority works in conjunction with HUD in Rhode Island to help felons and others in need find a permanent apartment home. Working through either governmental entities can help you obtain a permanent residence that is subsidized.
For example, if you schedule an appointment with HUD in Rhode Island or a local housing agency, your means of support or current income is compared to the area’s annual median income or AMI. Therefore, a housing subsidy is paid by the government to the property manager on your behalf. You, in return, remit the difference between the rental amount and the paid subsidy.
If your felony did not involve the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine or you have not been convicted and served time for a sex offense, you need to set up an appointment with HUD or a local housing agency office as soon as possible. While you may not be able to move into a permanent residence immediately, you can, at least, sign up on an agency’s waiting list and wait for an apartment to come due.
Rhode Island Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Craigslist is another of oft-used source for obtaining housing. Most of the advertisers are smaller property management companies or are real estate entrepreneurs. Therefore, they tend not to be as strict about reviewing the information of potential tenants. In order to review the Craigslist listings, follow this link. Next, click on “housing” at the top of the page. Pare down your choices by including a rental range.
Reentry Programs in Rhode Island
Begin looking for apartments and jobs by taking a look at the reentry listings for Rhode Island that have are featured on this site. Review the information periodically and contact the sources so you can stay current with job or employment leads.
The Rhode Island Religious Community
You can also request job or housing information from local churches or faith-based organizations. If you are currently part of a congregation, ask people with whom you go to church as well as your posting about housing or employment leads. You can also obtain information through local social service agencies.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Friends and family can also source jobs or housing for your consideration. Just do not ask someone who is close to you to sign a leasing agreement on your behalf. This type of behavior could get you evicted or sued. Your name must be included on the rental contract as an occupant.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Wear Professional Apparel
Maintain a professional appearance when you seek jobs or housing. In order to update and professionalize your look, visit your local thrift store or stop in at a discount retailer.
Establish a Professional Rapport
Concentrate on facilitating business-like communications. That also means learning not to take any remarks or comments personally. Focus on the positive and on being professional.
Review and Contact the Programs that are Listed as Reentry Sources for Rhode Island
Regularly take a look at the reentry programs that are featured for Rhode Island on our site. Try to maintain regular and continued contact with the agencies to make your reentry more streamlined and effective.
Stay Devoted to Your Housing or Job Search
Devote your time to focusing on your job or housing search. If you are unhappy about an outcome, stay positive. By persevering, you can realize your housing and employment goals and dreams.