Finding housing for felons in Tennessee 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 Tennessee, 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 Tennessee that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Tennessee
If you are beginning your reentry back into mainstream society, then you will want to refer to the reentry listings for Tennessee. This diverse listing of programs was compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub site to make re-integration easier. Use the contacts on the aforementioned list to obtain the assistance you need with getting a job and housing. If you need temporary housing or other basic necessities, such as food stamps, click on this link for additional information.
Re-entering the Mainstream in Tennessee
If you are searching for employment or a transitional or permanent residence in Tennessee, you need to develop a plan of action. That means writing down the appointments you need to make and the tasks you need to do in order to successfully re-integrate back into society. For example, the following to-do items can be written down in the form of a checklist to help keep you on top of your job and housing searches.
· Call and make appointments to sign up for transitional housing.
· Call the local HUD office or local housing authority about obtaining permanent placement in an apartment.
· Inquire about food stamps at the local health department.
· Call job training programs about their curriculums.
· Buy professional clothing for job and housing searches at a discount retail store or local thrift store.
· Obtain a criminal background check.
· Inquire about substance abuse counseling and help, if needed.
Transitional Housing in Tennessee
Obtaining transitional housing is made easier when you click on the following link. This site is the home base for thousands of listings of temporary residences throughout the US, many of which are designed to help individuals overcome problems with substance abuse. You can sign up for temporary housing for a couple weeks to as long as a couple years.
Other Tennessee Housing Resources
If your felony covers a conviction for the making and selling of methamphetamine or you served time for a sex offense, then you cannot work with the Housing of Urban Development (HUD) or a local housing agency. Instead, you will have to check with your correctional facility’s reentry program to find out what other avenues are open to you in this respect.
The US Housing of Urban Development or HUD works with local housing authorities to establish permanent housing for people whose incomes are low or fixed. The apartment leasing program that is offered by HUD has been established to ensure that people with very low incomes or a means of support are provided adequate housing. HUD compares an area’s annual medium income or AMI with an individual’s salary. This comparison is then applied so a subsidy can be issued to cover the difference. In some instances, you can get your housing for free if your means of support is extremely low.
Don’t Begin Your Search at a Large Apartment Complex
If you don’t want to face disappointment, then don’t begin your housing search in a large apartment community in Tennessee. Large apartment communities are owned by large property management companies who almost always deny housing to people with criminal records, or namely felonies. Instead, follow the above recommendations so you can positively succeed in meeting your housing objectives.
Request a Copy of Your Criminal History before Beginning a Search
To better support your housing or employment search, make sure you have a copy of your own criminal history on-hand. Use the record for negotiating leases and to serve as supporting paperwork when you are applying for temporary housing. You can request a copy by following this link.
Why Felons Are Regularly Denied Apartment Rentals in Tennessee and the US
If you are a felon and looking for a place to live, you definitely need to know where to look. The law in Tennessee and the US does not show any leniency to felons who are seeking a permanent residence. If a property manager in Tennessee or elsewhere views you as a liability or threat to their community, then, legally, they have it in their right to say “no” to your housing application.
According to the US Fair Housing Act, housing discrimination that is considered illegal occurs when a landlord bases their rental decision on an applicant’s race, ethnicity, disability, national origin, religion, sex or family status. Age and gender can also be a part of this listing.
This listing represents a protected class of people, or individuals who can legally dispute a housing denial if they believe it was based on bias instead of fact. Property managers must base their rental decisions on an applicant’s financial information or leasing history.
As a result, housing can be refused in Tennessee or other US state if an applicant’s rental history or credit score is unfavorable. For instance, a potential applicant who shows a series of non-payments for rent or who has a credit rating that is poor can be denied housing based on both or either of these facts alone.
If a property manager makes the decision not to rent an apartment because of an applicant’s religion, sex, race, disability, ethnicity, national origin or family status, he or she is violating the US Fair Housing law. All housing applicants must be treated fairly and equitably. This same mandate also applies to felons.
As a result, it is considered acceptable, legally, to deny a rental apartment to a felon as long as the refusal is not connected to a federally protected class. You can review the topic of illegal discrimination further by clicking on NOLO online.
The Housing Law in Tennessee
Landlords in Tennessee who lease real estate are required to adhere to anti-discrimination statutes and lease units that are habitable. They also must be able to create a rental agreement and know the proper procedure for eviction. When discrimination turns into an illegality it is because an application is based on prejudice. If a landlord denies housing to an applicant then, it must be based on a business or legal fact, such as the applicant’s rental history or credit rating.
Arbitrary discrimination can also result from a property owner’s preferences. For instance, if a landlord rents an apartment to a felon in his or her community but denies a unit to another felon, they can be sued for arbitrary discrimination. Because of their bias, the landlord’s decision is considered arbitrary in nature. You can read more about this type of discrimination at the following link .
Tennessee Housing Authority
The Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) is a full-service housing agency that features the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program that is featured through the Housing of Urban Development or HUD in Tennessee. The THDA offers felons and others in need the chance to sign up on a waiting list for HCV openings. HUD also lists 19 local housing authorities and agencies on the web for Tennessee.
Eligibility for an HCV or housing choice voucher is based on an individual’s or family’s total yearly gross income and household size. The program is limited to US citizens as well as non-citizen who meet immigration status requirements.
According to the program’s guidelines, the income for a family cannot exceed the annual median income or AMI for a metro area or county where a family lives. Federal rules further require that 75% of the new households admitted yearly be exceptionally low-income, with the yearly income not exceeding 30% of the median income for an area. The median incomes published by HUD each year can vary by county. You can read the established income limits at the following link.
Housing authorities and agencies are governmental entities that run various Federal housing assistance programs. Their participation results from their relationship with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD. The major program that is featured by the agencies is the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program run by HUD.
Housing experts recommend that released felons make an appointment at their local HUD office or associated agency ASAP. The sooner you make an appointment, the sooner action can be initiated to get you into a permanent and habitable house or apartment.
Interested applicants can make application on the THDA site, for example, when an open waitlist for housing comes available. The applicants must submit an application to the local authority in the county where they wish to reside. The following link offers instructions on applying on an HCV waiting list through the THDA. The instructions are detailed so it is important you review them carefully.
Once you apply on a waiting list, the waiting period can vary, depending on turnover or the funding awarded by Congress annually. Therefore, the THDA cannot predict the approximate waiting time. However, metropolitan counties do tend to have longer waiting lists and therefore longer waiting periods. If you go through the THDA, you must live in the county in which you apply for a year after admission before you can move with a voucher to another county in Tennessee or out-of-state.
Rental housing that qualifies for HUD subsidization includes single family houses, mobile homes and apartments, as long as the housing is in a safe, sanitary and decent condition, or in accordance with the definitions set forth by Housing Quality Standards.
Once more, if your felony did not involve a sex offense or the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine, you can work with HUD to acquire subsidized housing. While you may not be able to move into a permanent residence immediately, you still have the option of signing up on a waiting list. If you are unable to work through HUD because of your felony conviction, talk to a reentry counselor at your correctional facility or contact one of the reentry listings on the list compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub site.
Tennessee Apartment Listings on Craigslist
Besides applying to a HUD-based housing program, you can also look at the housing references for Tennessee on Craigslist. Because most of the advertisers are entrepreneurial in nature, you will have an easier time finding an apartment or a house. In order to review the Craigslist listings for Tennessee, simply click on the following link. Once you click on this page, click on the city or town where you wish to live. Click on the “housing” section at the top of the page and narrow your search by including the rental range.
Reentry Programs in Tennessee
You can always access our site, our Facebook page and our reentry listings for Tennessee. Keep in touch with the Jobs for Felons Hub site often so you stay on top of your housing and job searches and maintain your contacts.
The Tennessee Religious Community
You can also ask about housing or job contacts at local churches or face-based agencies. If you currently attend a local church, ask members of the congregation or your minister for housing or job leads. You can also obtain information by volunteering through a socially recognized program in your local community.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Family and friends can also help you find jobs or housing. Just make sure you don’t ask a friend or family member to sign a rental agreement on your behalf. Your name must be listed as the occupant on the leasing agreement. Otherwise, you could face an eviction or get sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress in a Professional Manner
Show your commitment toward obtaining a permanent place to live or a job by dressing professionally. You don’t have to put out a lot of money. Thrift stores provide professional-looking attire as well as discount retailers. Make sure your total appearance is neat, clean and professional.
Be Business-like When You Communicate
During your housing or job search, maintain a positive and business-like demeanor. Learn not to take remarks or comments personally. Your goal is to maintain a business-like communications style.
Contact the Programs that are Included as Reentry Listings for Tennessee
Contact the programs that are listed on our site for reentry in Tennessee. Establish contacts so you can continue your searches on a positive note.
Stick to a Routine
It is important to stay organized and stick to a schedule when searching for employment or a permanent residence. Stay objective and follow a daily schedule so you can pursue your goals and succeed.