Finding housing for felons in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, 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 Wisconsin that will help you in your pursuit of felon friendly housing.
Felon Friendly Apartments in Wisconsin
You have just been released from prison. You may feel a sense of freedom now but you also need guidance and support. To help you make the transition, the Jobs for Felons Hub site has developed a page of reentry listings for Wisconsin. The list will help you find the needed resources to obtain temporary or permanent housing, or obtain employment. You can also find transitional residences by following this link.
Making the Transition into Mainstream Society in Wisconsin
It is not practical to start a job or housing search without following a to-do list. By establishing a to-do list, you can better realize your objectives for finding a job or housing. The following activities are recommendations for making either a job or housing search easier to do.
· Contact transitional housing resources.
· Schedule an appointment with a HUD-based housing authority about permanent accommodations.
· Ask about getting food stamps.
· Contact area programs about employment training.
· Buy professional-looking clothes for job and apartment searches. Drop in at area thrift stores or discount retailers. You might be able to ask friends or family members about making a clothing donation too.
· Obtain a copy of your criminal record.
· Schedule a time to speak to a substance abuse counselor, if necessary.
Temporary Housing in Wisconsin
Information about transitional housing can be obtained at the transitionalhousing.org website. Many of the resources on the site assist people with substance abuse problems as well. Also, check the reentry listings for Wisconsin in your search for a temporary residence.
Other Wisconsin Housing Resources
Another way felons can obtain permanent housing is through HUD, or the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. As long as the felony you committed did not entail the manufacture and selling of methamphetamine or you were not convicted of a sex offense, HUD offers a way for felons to establish a permanent residence. If you were convicted of the above-mentioned felonies, you should talk to a counselor in your correctional facility’s reentry program. Otherwise, touch base with one of the reentry programs listed on the Jobs for Felons Hub site.
The program for housing sponsored by HUD permits people to obtain such housing as single-family homes, townhouses, mobile homes, or apartments. It just depends on the applicant’s income and how it compares to an area’s median income or AMI. HUD pays a portion of the rental amount, based on the applicant’s needs, and the applicant or renter pays the other portion of the payment. If you don’t have much of an income already, then you may be able to obtain an apartment for free. You can also find house listings on Craigslist or find job and housing leads through service or religious organizations.
Don’t Apply for an Apartment in a Large Wisconsin Apartment Complex
If you don’t want to feel defeated in your search for an apartment, stay away from large apartment communities. Large apartment communities are run by larger property management firms that normally don’t lease to felons. Therefore, stick to the aforementioned advice when seeking an apartment or permanent housing.
Obtain Your Criminal History Online
Before you undertake any kind of apartment or job search, you need to obtain a copy of your criminal history online. Doing so will make it simpler for you to negotiate leases or obtain temporary accommodations. Start the process by clicking on this link. Once you access the site, you will be charged a minimal fee.
Why Felons Are Regularly Denied Housing in Wisconsin and the US
Once you are charged with a felony, you will find that a housing or job search is harder to perform. That is because, legally, in the US, no laws exist that give felons a break when trying to secure housing. If a landlord believes you may present a potential risk to their community, they have the inalienable right to refuse your application.
According to fair housing laws, discrimination is only illegal when a property manager refuses to rent a house or apartment because of an applicant’s national origin, race, ethnicity, family status, sex, disability, or religion. Any of these categories represent a federally protected class of people – people who have it in their right to sue a property manager for bias or discrimination.
By law, a property manager can only deny housing to those applicants whose criminal history shows their felon status or because of non-payment of rent or eviction. Applicants are also refused based on their credit rating.
Landlords in Wisconsin and other areas of the US, who refuse to rent to applicants because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, family status, sex, or disability are guilty of illegal discrimination. Read more about this form of discernment on the NOLO site online.
The Housing Law in Wisconsin
Property managers in Wisconsin are required to follow the mandates set forth by federal anti-discrimination statutes and must know how to draw up a leasing agreement. They also must know the steps for eviction. The rental decisions, by law, should be based on business, and not on prejudice.
Arbitrary discrimination is considered against the law, especially when a property manager leases to a person of a certain class but refuses housing to another individual of the same class. For instance, if a landlord denies the application of one felon but grants the rental request of another felon, they can be sued for arbitrary discrimination. You can find out more about the subject by following this link.
Wisconsin Housing Authority
The Wisconsin Association of Housing Authorities (WAHA) is the platform to visit if you are interested in securing HUD housing. You can also check on the HUD site for Wisconsin. WAHA is designed to promote the availability of low-rent public housing as well as other housing programs for moderate to low-income families. The population also includes the handicapped and the elderly.
The primary objective any HUD program is to increase access to sanitary, safe, and affordable housing, mainly in the form of an apartment rental. The program also enhances the capability of the state and local government in offering housing options. Therefore, the HUD program is established to support the goals and objectives of non-profit housing organizations and to balance out participation among parties in the private sector.
To find a permanent residence, contact HUD in Wisconsin or the WAHA. Schedule an appointment with a HUD-based housing authority right away so you can obtain subsidized housing help as soon as possible.
Public housing authorities in the state supply subsidized Section 8 homes to individuals whose income does not exceed half of HUD’s current income guidelines. HUD requires that most of the applicants seeking a place to live have an income that does not rise above 30% of the AMI, or area median income.
HUD applicants are considered for rental homes based on how much they make, the size and composition of their household, and their current immigration status. As stated, you can obtain apartments as well as townhomes, mobile homes or single-family houses. All of the places represented by HUD must meet the HQS or Housing Quality Standards established by the US Fair Housing Law.
Wisconsin Apartment Listings on Craigslist
You can also find apartments and houses for rent on the Craigslist listing for Wisconsin. The advertisers who post listings on the site are either entrepreneurs or smaller property management firms. To begin a search, start by clicking on the Craigslist site, then click on the town or city where you wish to live. Once you arrive on the page, click on the “housing” tab at the top of the site. Narrow your selections by adding the rental range.
Reentry Programs in Wisconsin
You can always refer to the reentry listings for Wisconsin as well. Reach out to the Jobs for Felons Hub site on Facebook with any questions you may have about your employment or housing searches. Our site is an advocate for the felon who is reintegrating back into society.
The Wisconsin Religious Community
Wisconsin’s religious community can also be a source for job or housing leads. If you are a member of a congregation, for example, you might ask about apartment or job openings. Ask members in your church or the minister. You can also request assistance from faith-based organizations or social service agencies.
Referrals From Friends and Family
Ask friends and family members about apartments or jobs as well. However, do not ask a close friend or the family or your family to sign your lease for you. You need to be listed on the leasing contact. Otherwise, the landlord can sue you or evict you.
Additional Felon Housing Search Tips
Dress to Impress
If you want to make a good first impression, what you wear is important. Obtain professional-looking clothes at a local thrift store or discount retail outlet.
Maintain a Professional Stance
If you are dressed professionally, you need to behave accordingly. Don’t take certain comments personally but focus on being the best you can be. Communicate diplomatically.
Keep in Contact with the Listed Programs Wisconsin’s Reentry Listings
Stay in touch with the programs listed on Wisconsin’s Reentry Listings for this site. Focus on getting a permanent apartment and employment.
Follow a Regular Regimen
Once you start looking for an apartment or job, make sure you stick to the activity. Doing so will assist you in staying on top of your job search and apartment search activities.