Finding housing for felons in Texas 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 Texas, 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 Texas that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Texas
You have just been released from prison. Therefore, now is the time to get organized and re-integrate yourself back into society. To get you started with the process, you can always refer to the reentry listings for Texas that have been compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub site. This all-inclusive listing will help you open doors to opportunities in the mainstream. Should you need transitional housing or other types of assistance, such as food stamps, follow this link for resources and information.
Re-entering Society in Texas
Whether you are looking for a permanent place to live in Texas or are looking for a job, you need to develop a specific course of action. Therefore, it is imperative to organize your job and housing search activities. For instance, the following to-do list can assist you in following and maintaining a routine.
· Contact agencies about obtaining transitional housing.
· Call the local HUD office or housing authority about obtaining a permanent place to live.
· Inquire about food stamps at the following link or at the local health department.
· Call job training programs about their curriculums.
· Buy professional-looking clothes for employment and housing searches at discount retail stores or local thrift stores.
· Obtain a criminal history check.
· Ask about substance abuse counseling and help, if needed.
Temporary Housing in Texas
Obtaining a temporary place to live can be accomplished by following this link. The transitonalhousing.org website is a platform that lists thousands of temporary housing sources for felons and people in need in the US. Many of the residential programs are set up to assist people overcome issues with substance abuse. You can sign up for housing from two weeks to two years, depending on the program. You can also refer to the reentry listings for Texas compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub site for your transitional housing needs.
Other Texas Housing Resources
If you were charged with the manufacture and sale of methamphetamines or was convicted of a sex offense, you cannot work with HUD or the Housing of Urban Development to obtain subsidized housing in Texas. Instead, you will have to discuss your housing needs with your Department of Corrections’ reentry program counselors.
HUD, itself, works in collaboration with Texas housing agencies and authorities to help people in need obtain permanent subsidized housing. The rental housing program offered through HUD is based on an area’s annual median income or AMI. The difference between the average income of an area and an applicant’s income is therefore subsidized. In some situations, applicants can obtain free housing if their means of support is exceptionally low.
Don’t Apply for Rental Housing at a Large Apartment Complex
To avoid frustration, don’t set your sights on a large apartment community when conducting a housing search. Instead, look on Craigslist or seek permanent housing through HUD. You can also ask about housing at local churches, social service agencies or faith-based organizations. Large apartment complexes are managed and operated by large property management companies that regularly turn down felons for rental units.
Obtain Your Own Criminal History check
In order to support your housing and jobs search efforts, make sure you obtain a copy of your criminal record. Use the history to negotiate leases or serve as supporting documentation when you are applying for transitional housing. You can obtain a copy of your criminal history at the following link.
Why Felons Are Refused Rental Housing in Texas and the US
The law does not show any favoritism toward felons who are seeking housing. Currently, there are no laws or statues on the books that offer a felon leniency in this regard. If a property manager in Texas or elsewhere in the US believes you could pose an issue in terms of liability or safety, then they can legally deny your application.
The US Fair Housing Act says discrimination becomes illegal when a property manager bases a rental decision on an applicant’s disability, ethnicity, race, national origin, religion, sex, or familial status. Gender and age may also be included on this list.
That’s because the above-mentioned list makes up a federally protected class of individuals – people who can legally sue a property manager for refusing them a place to live. Property managers in Texas and elsewhere must base their decisions to rent housing on an applicant’s rental history or credit score. Prejudice or bias, when renting housing, is an illegal practice. Therefore, rental managers must base a rental decision on such factors as non-payment of rent, previous evictions or an applicant’s credit report. All applicants must be treated the same – equally and fairly.
A property manager in Texas or elsewhere who denies a rental application because of an applicant’s race, religion, sex, ethnicity, disability, family status, or ethnicity is violating US Fair Housing policy. However, it is considered legal to refuse rental housing to a felon as long as the denial does not extend to a protected classification. You can read more about the ramifications of illegal discrimination by clicking on NOLO online.
The Housing Law in Texas
Property managers in Texas are required to follow anti-discrimination laws established by the US Fair Housing Act as well as rent housing that is considered habitable and safe. The mangers must also be able to establish a rental contract and know the process for eviction. Landlords in the state cannot base any rental decision on prejudice or preference. Any decision along these lines must be legally based or initiated from a would-be tenant’s leasing or financial history.
Arbitrary discrimination is often synonymous with illegal discrimination as it shows a preference for an applicant. For example, if a property manager rents to a felon but refuses to rent to another felon, he or she can be held liable for their actions. This form of discrimination, which is arbitrary, is based on prejudice or bias. Therefore, the practice is considered illegal in the eyes of the law. You can obtain further information about arbitrary discrimination at the following link.
Texas Housing Authority
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) features Section 8 housing choice vouchers for felons and people in need across the state. The program works in conjunction with HUD in Texas to support the needs of people who require subsidized housing. Texas public housing authorities also supply applicants with housing vouchers so they can live in clean and affordable rental units and dwellings.
The Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 program offers rental assistance on behalf of families and individuals with low incomes. The program also provides housing for people with disabilities and the elderly. The financial assistance is extended to households whose yearly gross income does not go over 50% of HUD’s income guidelines. HUD requires that 75% of new households be at 30% or below the area median income or AMI.
The eligibility of applicants is based on the income, composition and size of a household as well as citizenship status and childcare and medical expenses. Qualified applicants can choose the best available housing by negotiating with participating landlords. The aforementioned TDHCA in Texas remits government-approved rental amounts directly to landlords.
The TDHCA in Texas is one of several public housing authorities that operates the Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 program in Texas. Each PHA covers a certain service area. Section 8 is not provided in all areas of Texas. Neither does the TDHCA Section 8 program extend throughout the state.
The Project Access program in the state makes use of Housing Choice Voucher Section 8 vouchers that are administered by the TDHCA to help low-income people with disabilities transition from institutions into the community. The annual median income can vary by location. You can read the income limits that have been established for the HCV HUD program by clicking on this link.
Again, if you have been just released from prison and your felony was not a sex offense or involved the making and selling of methamphetamine, you need to contact HUD or an affiliated agency without delay. The sooner you schedule an appointment, the sooner you can meet your goal of securing a permanent place to live.
Rental housing that qualifies under HUD for subsidies includes mobile homes, single-family dwellings and apartments, provided they are in a sanitary and safe condition, or meet the guidelines established by Housing Quality Standards.
Texas Apartment Listings on Craigslist
You can also apply to Craigslist to obtain housing in Texas. Because most of the posters on the site are independent property managers, you will have more leeway in negotiating a lease or finding a property. In order to review the current rental listings on Craigslist for Texas, first click on the following link. Next, choose the city where you wish to reside and click on the page. At the top of the page, click on the category, “housing.” From that point, insert your rental range to short-list your choices.
Reentry Programs in Texas
Regularly refer to the reentry listings for Texas that have been compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub site and keep in touch with us on Facebook to keep updated on news about employment or housing.
The Texas Religious Community
The Texas religious community can also be used as a resource for employment and housing listings. If you now are a member of a congregation, ask members or your pastor about housing or employment leads. You can also find job and housing information through faith-based social service agencies.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Count on referrals from friends and family to secure permanent housing as well. However, don’t ask a close friend for family member to sign an apartment lease on your behalf. Doing so could cause you to get into trouble legally. Your name has to be on a lease as an occupant. Otherwise, you could be evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress and Look Professional
In order to make your housing or job search more positive, you need to dress positively as well. That means buying professional attire at a local thrift shop or discount retailer. Make sure you look your best when you are seeking employment or a transitional or permanent residence.
Maintain a Professional Rapport
Not only do you want to dress professionally, you want to communicate professionally too. Learn to take any negative comments in stride and not let them impact you. Your objective is to focus on professional communications.
Contact the Programs that are Presented on the Reentry Listings for Texas
Contact the programs that have been compiled by the Jobs for Felons Hub for Texas. Keep in touch with program representatives so you can stay on top of your housing and employment searches.
Follow an Itinerary
To stay on track, follow a daily itinerary. Even if you have not yet obtained a job, make sure you write down a to-do list that you need to follow every day. Stick to this type of initiative and you will eventually succeed.