Finding housing for felons in West Virginia 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 West Virginia, 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 West Virginia that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in West Virginia
When you get out of prison, life begins again. As a result, you need to have the support and guidance necessary to make a good start. To help you transition, the Jobs for Felons Hub site has created reentry listings for West Virginia. The list will help you contact the resources necessary to obtain transitional or permanent housing, or get a job. You can also find transitional housing by clicking on this link.
Making the Transition into the Mainstream in West Virginia
You cannot begin a housing or job search without developing a to-do list. By setting up a to-do list of activities, you can realize your individual goals of finding an apartment and a job. The following to-do items are suggestions for making your searches more streamlined.
· Contact transitional housing resources.
· Schedule an appointment with a HUD-based housing authority about getting a permanent place to live.
· Inquire about getting food stamps.
· Contact area programs about job training.
· Buy professional-looking clothes for job and housing appointments at area thrift stores and discount retail stores. Ask if friends or family members can make a clothing donation for job-hunting or house search purposes.
· Obtain a copy of your criminal history.
· Schedule a time to talk to a substance abuse counselor, if required.
Transitional Housing in West Virginia
You can obtain information about transitional housing by pointing your browser to the transitionalhousing.org site. Many of the transitional housing resources on the platform help people with substance abuse issues. Refer back to the reentry listings for West Virginia in your search for a temporary residence as well.
Other West Virginia Housing Sources
Permanent housing can also be obtained through HUD, or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. In fact, if your felony did not involve the making and selling of methamphetamine or you were not charged with a sex offense, HUD offers a viable means for felons to get their feet back on the ground. If you were charged with the aforementioned offenses, you need to talk to a counselor at your correctional facility’s reentry program or need to contact one of the reentry programs that are listed on our site.
The housing program that HUD features allows people to obtain housing in the form of a single-family dwelling, townhouse, apartment, or mobile home, depending on an applicant’s income when compared to their area’s median income or AMI. HUD pays a subsidized amount, based on applicant need, and the renter covers the rest of the payment. If your income is almost non-existent, then you may be able to acquire HUD housing for free. You can also search on Craigslist for rental postings or contact religious or service organizations in your community.
Don’t Apply for an Apartment in a Large West Virginia Apartment Community
Don’t begin any search for housing at a large apartment community. You will only set yourself up for defeat. Large apartment communities are operated by large property management companies that don’t regularly rent to felons. Therefore, follow the previously-recommended suggestions when searching for an apartment or a house.
Obtain Your Criminal Record
Before you begin any kind of search, you need to obtain a copy of your criminal record. Doing so will help make it easier for you to negotiate lease terms or secure transitional housing. Start by clicking on this link. Once you access the link, it takes only a couple minutes to obtain a copy of your criminal record. The site assesses a very small fee.
Why Felons Are Refused Rental Housing in West Virginia and the US
Once you have a felony, your efforts toward obtaining a rental apartment or house are difficult. Currently, no laws exist on the US books that give any leeway to felons searching for a place to live. If a property manager believes you pose a potential liability or threat, they can, by law, refuse your application to rent.
According to fair housing statutes, discrimination is considered illegal when a landlord will not rent an apartment to an applicant because of their national origin, ethnicity, family status, sex, disability, race, or religion. These people are part of a federally protected class of individuals, or people who can sue a landlord for discriminating against them, based on personal bias.
Legally, a landlord can only refuse rental housing to an applicant whose criminal record shows they committed and served time for a crime or their leasing history reveals they are unreliable. Therefore, applicants can be turned down for having a felony or misdemeanor, or because they have a series of evictions or non-payments of rent. Applicants can also be refused based on their credit score.
Property managers in West Virginia and other parts of the US, who deny an applicant’s paperwork to lease an apartment, based on their race, ethnicity, religion, family status, national origin, sex, or disability are practicing illegal discrimination. You can read more about illegal discrimination at NOLO online.
The Housing Law in West Virginia
Landlords in West Virginia are required to follow federal anti-discrimination laws and need to know how to draw up a rental contract. They are also responsible for evicting tenants. Therefore, they need to know what steps to take in order to facilitate the process. Their leasing decisions must be business-based, and therefore must not be made out of bias or prejudice.
Arbitrary discrimination can also be considered illegal, particularly when a landlord rents to a person of a certain classification but denies housing to another person of the same group. For example, if a property manager accepts a felon’s application for housing but denies the application of another felon, they can be held liable for the activity. You can learn more about arbitrary discrimination by following this link.
West Virginia Housing Authority
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund features several programs that make housing affordable for people in need and assists investors in their pursuits of offering units and dwellings that support these efforts. One of its programs is the Home Program.
The main objective of this program is to expand the accessibility of decent, sanitary, safe, and affordable housing, primarily rental homes, to increase the ability of local and state government to offer housing alternatives. The program is also designed to ensure that federal housing programs and financing can be utilized in a supportive way – to broaden the abilities of nonprofit housing development organizations and to leverage participation in the private sector.
To find permanent and affordable housing then, contact HUD in West Virginia or one of the six public housing authorities in the state. If you are looking for a permanent residence, you need to schedule an appointment with a HUD-based agency that provides Section 8 subsidized housing assistance ASAP.
The public housing agencies in the state provide subsidized Section 8 housing to people whose total gross income does not surpass 50% of HUD’s income guidelines. HUD requires that the majority of applicants seeking housing have an income that is 30% or below the AMI or area median income. Therefore, your chance for obtaining housing is good if you can apply to HUD.
HUD-eligible applicants are considered for housing based on their income, composition and size of their household and citizenship status. Expenses for childcare and medical care are considered as well. You can obtain apartments, town homes, mobile homes and single-family dwellings through the governmental agency. All the residences must meet the Housing Quality Standards set up by the Fair Housing Law in the United States.
West Virginia Apartment Listings on Craigslist
You can also gain access to housing leads by visiting the Craigslist postings for West Virginia. Because the advertisers on the site are smaller property management companies or entrepreneurs, your chances of getting an apartment or home are better. In order to search on the site, begin by clicking on this link. Next, click on the town or city of your choice, then click on the “housing” section at the top of the page. Insert your rental range before accessing the listings.
Reentry Programs in West Virginia
You are always invited to review the reentry listings for West Virginia that are posted on the Jobs for Felons Hub website. You can also visit us on Facebook about job hunting or apartment search concerns. We are on your side and want to see you succeed in your searches and objectives.
The West Virginia Religious Community
The religious community in West Virginia also is a resource on which you can rely. If you are a member of a West Virginia congregation, you might ask about job or housing leads from your pastor or members in your church. You can also obtain information from social agencies or faith-based organizations.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Talk to friends and family members about job leads or apartment openings. However, do not ask a family member or close friend to sign a leasing contract on your behalf. You need to be one of the listed tenants on the contract. Otherwise, you stand the chance of getting evicted or sued.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress Like You Mean Business
Dress for success when you are searching for an apartment or job. You want to show that you are serious about the activity. Visit the thrift store or a retail clothing discounter for your apparel.
Maintain a Professional Demeanor
If you look professional, you also need to behave professionally. Make it your goal to maintain a professional demeanor when you are looking for a job or an apartment.
Keep in Contact with the Programs Featured on the Reentry Listings for West Virginia
Keep in contact with the programs that are included on the reentry listings for West Virginia. Concentrate on obtaining a long-term job and permanent residence.
Follow a Regular Routine
Follow a regular routine when looking for an apartment or a job. Doing so will help keep you on track of your planned accomplishments and objectives.