Finding housing for felons in South Carolina 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 South Carolina, 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 South Carolina that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in South Carolina
A change can be difficult but also rewarding. If you have been released from prison, you can find the support you need through our site. We have compiled reentry listings for South Carolina that will be help you while you reintegrate yourself back into the mainstream.
Use the information to develop contacts and obtain the information you need to be successful in your job and housing searches. If you are looking for transitional housing or need information about food stamps or other basic concerns, review the data and listings by clicking on this link.
Featured Reentry Program – JumpStart in South Carolina
One of the featured reentry programs that we list on our site is JumpStart in South Carolina. The program offers inmates, who are within two years of release, a chance to get adjusted to reintegrating into society. Participants in the program learn about personal responsibility and how to contribute to their community. The jobs in the program are mainly in manufacturing and manual labor. However, some of the participants receive vocational training in dog grooming and horticulture.
Re-entering Society in South Carolina
When searching for housing or jobs in South Carolina, you will need to write down or list what you will need to do. Making a checklist is useful as it helps you follow a plan of action. For example, you might include the following activities on your checklist:
· Contact sources about temporary accommodations.
· Call the local HUD office or housing authority about a permanent residence.
· Call employment training programs for information about their offerings.
· Ask about foods stamps at the local health department.
· Buy professional looking clothing for job and housing appointments at a discount retailer or local thrift store.
· Obtain a criminal history check
Transitional Housing in South Carolina
You can receive information about transitional accommodations in South Caroling by clicking on the following link. The site is home to thousands of listings of transitional residences, many of which help people with substance abuse issues. You can sign up for housing from two weeks to two years, depending on the program.
Other South Carolina Housing Resources
While you cannot apply to HUD or a local housing authority if you have been convicted of certain felonies, you can use this resource if your felony did not involve the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine or a sex offense.
The Housing of Urban Development or HUD works with area housing agencies to support the needs of individuals who are on low or fixed incomes and require habitable living accommodations. The apartment rental program featured by HUD is set up to compare an applicant’s income with an area’s annual median income or AMI. In turn, subsidized housing is offered that, in some cases, is free to applicants with a limited means of support.
Don’t Look at Apartments Feature by Large Property Management Companies
Don’t bother looking for housing in a large apartment community if you don’t want to get disappointed. Instead, refer to the above resources. Felons are regularly denied housing at large apartment complexes.
Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal History
Before you conduct a search for housing or employment, obtain a copy of your criminal history online. The cost is minimal and the information can be helpful to you when you seek transitional housing or a job. You can begin the process by following this link.
Why Felons Are Regularly Denied Housing in South Carolina and the US
Felons are viewed as a liability or potential risk to some landlords even though that assessment is often incorrect. Therefore, a criminal record is a qualification that can be used for determining risk. As a result, a property manager is in his or her right to refuse housing if they believe an applicant could pose a threat or be viewed as a liability to a community.
Currently, no laws have been passed that prevent property managers from disqualifying felon applicants. According to the US Fair Housing Act, discriminating against a rental applicant is illegal if the decision to do so is based on the applicant’s ethnicity, race, disability, sex, national origin, religion or family status.
Age and gender can also be included, in some instances, as well. This listing represents a federal protected class of people, any of who can sue a property manager who refuses them housing out of prejudice. For a property manager to be fair, he or she must approve or deny housing based on an applicant’s income, employment, credit score or rental history.
If a property manager makes the decision not to lease an apartment because of an applicant’s race, ethnicity, sex, religion, disability, national origin or family status, he or she can be sued. According the US Fair Housing Act, housing applicants must be treated equally. This stipulation also points to felons as a group. As long as the decision to refuse housing does not extend to a federally protected class, a property manager can refuse to rent an apartment.
If you are a felon, however, whose felony charge for drug use, for instance, stemmed from a disability, then you may rent an apartment and cannot be refused. That’s because the charge and conviction originated from having a disability. Most felons, however, need to refer to HUD or other social agencies to ensure they can obtain a permanent place to live. You can read more about illegal discrimination by referring to NOLO online.
The Housing Law in South Carolina
South Carolina property managers must adhere to the laws and statutes that cover discrimination and make sure the apartments or homes they rent are livable. They must also know how to draw up leasing agreements or follow the eviction process. When housing discrimination is illegal, the property manager acts out of bias rather than reason. Again, an applicant who is denied housing should be refused based on their credit record or rental history.
Arbitrary discrimination can be illegal if a landlord leases an apartment, for example, to one felon but denies the application of another felon. If he or she is going to rent to a felon, he or she must rent to all felons. If the property manager denies the rental agreement of one felon, then he or she must refuse the application of other felons. Preferential treatment then can be defined as arbitrary discrimination. Read more about this kind of discrimination by following this link.
South Carolina Housing Authority
One of the agencies that offers subsidized rental assistance is the South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority. This federal program assists very low income families and individuals. Since the assistance for housing is provided on behalf of an individual or family, participants can rent privately owned housing.
Although the South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority is a state agency, it does not have jurisdiction over the 42 housing authorities in South Carolina. Each housing authority is a separate entity and therefore administers various leasing assistance programs. Although local housing authorities all operate under HUD guidelines, they can establish area policies for their individual programs.
The eligibility for a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) is based on gross income and family size by a Public Housing Agency (PHA). The South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) for HUD in seven counties in South Carolina. These counties include Clarendon, Dorchester, Colleton, Kershaw, Fairfield, Lexington and Lee. You can also schedule an appointment for obtaining housing by contacting HUD in South Carolina or a public housing agency in your local area.
According to current data, South Carolina has 1,076 rental properties that receive at least a form of housing assistance, which are also, at least, partially reserved for low-income residents. The properties hold a projected 49,681 rental units. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, which is the biggest assistance program of kind, is based on unit count. About 20,186 South Carolinians are currently helped.
Discrimination, once again, that is based on race, ethnicity, disability, religion, familial status, national origin or gender is prohibited in South Carolina.
South Carolina Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Craigslist offers another viable housing search solution for felons from South Carolina. Most of the posters are smaller property owners or are real estate entrepreneurs. Therefore, they tend to be less strict about leasing to prospective tenants. In order to access Craigslist for South Carolina, click on the following link. Next, click on the town or city where you wish to reside. Once you are on the site, click on “housing” at the top of the page. Narrow down your housing selection by inserting the rental range.
Reentry Programs in South Carolina
You can always refer to the reentry listings for South Carolina to support your search for transitional housing, jobs or employment training. Review and contact individual programs so you can obtain the help you need to reintegrate back into society.
The South Carolina Religious Community
You can also ask about housing or employment information from faith-based organizations and area churches. If you are a member of a church or work as a community volunteer, you can also ask about job or housing references in these venues.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Friends and family are another viable source for job and housing leads. However, don’t ask a close friend or member of your family to sign a rental agreement on your behalf. Your name must be listed on the lease as an occupant. Otherwise, you could be evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Wear Professional-looking Clothes
Work toward your goal of obtaining housing and a job by maintaining a professional appearance. To update and professionalize your look, stop by the local thrift store or a discount retailer and buy neutral and neat slacks, skirts and jackets.
Establish Professional Communications
Communicate in a business-like manner with landlords and potential employers. Don’t take any comments or remarks personally. Concentrate on business-like communications.
Review the Reentry Program Listings for South Carolina
Refer to the reentry program listings that the Jobs for Felons Hub site has compiled. Maintain contacts with the programs and agencies to stay on top of your job and housing searches.
Persevere in Your Searches
Focus on searching for a job and apartment and remain objective. When you persevere, nothing can stand in your way of obtaining a job and permanent residence.