Finding housing for felons in South Dakota 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 Dakota, 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 Dakota that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in South Dakota
If you have been released from prison or getting ready to be released, you can regularly refer to the Jobs for Felons Hub site for resources and information. These resources include the reentry listings for South Dakota which feature programs that can assist you re-integrate back into society.
Use the contacts on the list to obtain the information needed to proceed with a job or housing search or to obtain employment training. If you need transitional housing or require other basic necessities, refer to this link for further details and information.
Re-entering Society in South Dakota
When searching for housing or jobs in South Dakota, you will need to write down contacts and a checklist. Making a checklist is helpful as it enables you follow a plan of action. For example, you might include the following activities on your checklist:
· Contact sources about transitional accommodations.
· Call the local HUD office or local housing authority about permanent placement in a 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.
· Inquire about substance abuse counseling and help.
Transitional Housing in South Dakota
You can receive information about transitional accommodations in South Dakota 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 Dakota 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 housing requirement of people who are on low or fixed incomes and need a habitable place to live. 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 instances, is free to applicants with a limited means of support or who are not supported by a salary.
Don’t Look at Apartments that are Owned 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-suggested methods. Felons are regularly denied housing at large apartment complexes.
Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal Record before You Being Your Search
In order to progress in your job and housing search, you need to download your criminal record. Use your history as a tool to negotiate leases or to serve as documentation when you are applying for transitional housing. You can obtain the document by clicking on this link.
Why Felons Are Normally Refused Rental Housing in South Dakota and the US
The law does not favor felons when it comes to obtaining housing. Therefore, property managers are in their right to turn you down for a rental apartment or other types of dwellings. If a property manager believes you may pose a possible threat to their community, then, legally, they can refuse your housing application.
The US Fair Housing Act states that illegal housing discrimination take place when a property manager bases his or her decision for a housing refusal on an applicant’s disability, ethnicity, national origin, race, creed, family status or sex. Age and gender, in some instances, are included on this list.
The list defines federal protected classes of people – people who can sue a landlord if they believe the reason for a rental refusal was based on any of the listed categories. If a decision is based on prejudice versus reason or fact, then the discrimination is considered illegal. For a property manager to practice fairness, he or she must consider applicants equally.
Housing can be denied in South Dakota and other US state if it is based on an applicant’s leasing record or credit score. For instance, anyone who has a series of non-payments or evictions can be turned down for housing as they have proven, from their past history, to be an unreliable tenant and payer.
If a landlord decides against renting an apartment to a potential tenant because of their race, sex, religion, ethnicity, disability, familial status or national origin, they are in violation of the US Fair Housing statutes. All applicants should be treated without bias or equally This stipulation also applies to felons. Therefore, it is considered legally acceptable to refuse housing to a felon as long as that refusal does not extend to an individual in a protected class. You can read more about illegal discrimination by referring to NOLO online.
The Housing Law in South Dakota
Property owners in South Dakota who rent properties must follow anti-discrimination laws and rent properties that are considered legally habitable. In addition, they must be able to draw up a leasing contract and know what steps to take for eviction. When housing discrimination is considered illegal, a landlord is basing his or her leasing decision on a preference. If an applicant is denied housing then, it must be due to their credit score or leasing history.
Arbitrary discrimination can get a property owner into trouble, especially if it supports favoritism. For example, if a property manager rents you an apartment and you are a felon but does not rent an apartment to another individual who is a felon, he or she can be sued. Because of his or her preference, the discrimination is considered arbitrary as well as illegal. You can learn more about this form of discrimination by clicking on this link.
South Dakota Housing Authority
The South Dakota Housing Development Authority works collaboratively with HUD in South Dakota to help felons and other people in need of a permanent apartment. Working through either governmental entities can lead you to Section 8 HUD or subsidized housing. You can also contact local housing authorities in the state.
According to statistics, 35 housing authorities are located in South Dakota. These entities own and operate an aggregation of rentals and administer Section 8 vouchers. Of these authorities, approximately 34% have public housing and a Section 8 program.
The biggest housing authority in the state is the Housing and Redevelopment Commission in Sioux Falls with 1,943 public housing units that are under management (1,918 Section 8 vouchers and 25 public housing units, according to statistics).
Housing authorities, themselves, are governmental type entities that operate a variety of Federal housing assistance programs. They do this on behalf of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD. Programs include Section 8 Housing Vouchers and Public Housing, to name a couple.
Once you make an appointment to talk to a HUD representative in South Dakota, your current income or means of support is compared to your local area’s annual median income, also referred to as the AMI. A housing subsidy is paid by the government to participating apartment communities. You, in turn, pay the difference between the subsidy and the actual amount of the rent.
If your felony does not involve the making and selling of drugs, such as methamphetamine, or you are not a convicted sex offender, you should set up an appointment with HUD or HUD-based agency as soon as you are released from prison. While you may not be able to move into an apartment right away, you can still include your name on a waiting list. If you cannot work with HUD, then you need to go through the reentry program at your correctional facility and obtain the name of housing contacts for your particular locale.
South Dakota Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Craigslist can also be used as a reference for apartment listings. Most of the posters are entrepreneurial in nature and therefore are more lenient to would-be tenants. In order to look at the Craigslist listings for South Dakota, you need to click on this link. Once you access the page, click on the “housing’ section at the top. From there, insert your rental range to review your choices.
Reentry Programs in South Dakota
You can always refer to the reentry listings for South Dakota that we have compiled on this site. Review the information at your leisure to keep on top of updates and maintain your job search and housing contacts.
The South Dakota Religious Community
You can also refer to local churches or faith-based organizations for housing and job leads. If you are a current parishioner at a church, you can also ask other members or your pastor for job or housing information. Social service agencies can also provide information for housing and job leads.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Ask friends or family members about job or housing leads as well. Perhaps a friend can vouch for you if you have applied for a rental. However, don’t ask a close friend or family member to sign a rental contract on your behalf. You can get sued or evicted if you are not listed on the agreement as being an occupant.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Maintain a professional look while you are searching for employment or housing. Either visit a thrift store or a discount retailer to buy your apparel. Also, have your hair cut in a professional style to complete your look.
Focus on establishing business-like communications. Concentrate on being both positive and objective. Brush aside negative comments and learn not to take any remarks personally.
Review the Programs that are Included as Reentry Sources for South Dakota
Regularly review the reentry program listings for South Dakota on our site. Maintaining the contact will assist you in making your reintegration more streamlined and positive.
Stay Committed to Your Housing or Employment Search
Commit your resources to finding a job and permanent apartment. Don’t be detracted by disappointment. Keep on pursuing your goals and you will succeed.