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Housing Assistance For Low-Income Felons

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Sometimes, felons need assistance finding housing for a variety of reasons. Rent can become increasingly difficult to afford when funds are tight. Additionally, felons can have difficulty finding affordable housing options in their area. They have somewhere to turn for help during hard times, as there are low income apartments for felons.

Felons can turn to several programs to receive housing assistance. The federal government largely administers these programs. Programs offered by the government to assist felons in finding affordable housing or providing monetary assistance are designed to help them pay their rent.

If felons are eligible for housing assistance, they will not have to pay it back. It can be considered a gift if they receive a grant or voucher to help pay for rent, as they won't have to pay it back. Felons should be able to acquire housing assistance with the assistance listed below.

Public Housing – Housing And Urban Development (HUD)

Felons may want to consider public housing as one of their most important options. The federal government makes it possible for this program to exist. Under the program, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees the program.

If a felon opts for public housing, they will be living in an apartment owned by the government. The federal government owns housing complexes and apartments around the country. These low income apartments for felons are available for free or at a very low monthly price.

In the United States, there are many federally-owned public housing units. They may be trailers, apartment complexes, or single-family homes. Most public housing options are located in or near large cities, but some are also available in rural areas.

How To Apply

The HUD low-income guidelines determine if you are eligible for their programs. In these programs, low-income individuals and felony offenders are offered housing assistance. You must also meet the income guidelines and be a citizen or legal alien to qualify.

Moreover, you can reach out to your public housing agency. You can find Public Housing Agencies across the country. If you want housing assistance for felons, they can provide you with all of the local information. You can contact that office to find out how to obtain assistance for paying rent or finding affordable housing.

You can contact that office to find out how to obtain assistance for paying rent or finding affordable housing. Contact them if you are interested in receiving housing assistance or finding out what kinds of programs they offer.

Felons are eligible for housing assistance to ensure their basic needs are met. By obtaining housing assistance, you can work towards improving your situation. There may also be resources available locally to help you with housing assistance through the office that runs your city. It is vital to afford your housing needs in difficult financial times. Until we satisfy the basic need for shelter, we cannot move on to address other aspects of our lives.

Section 8 Voucher

Finding affordable housing can be a major challenge for felons. Low income apartments for felons are available under Section 8 choice vouchers. The Section 8 Rental Assistance Program is a federally funded program available to every state. A participating landlord offers to rent an apartment to eligible individuals and families at a heavily discounted rate of about 60-70%

People with criminal records are often rejected because of very strict eligibility guidelines. Nevertheless, even though Section 8 is not an easy option, it can be very helpful for felons seeking long-term housing.

Can Felons Get Section 8 Housing?

You will automatically be disqualified from federally funded low-income and subsidized housing programs if you have committed any of the following two felonies. 

  1. You are registered on the sex offender registry for life
  2. Your conviction involved manufacturing or producing methamphetamine within federally assisted housing.

In addition to the federal criteria, each state may have eligibility criteria that might disqualify some felons from applying. In the 1990s, many states and counties began introducing very strict eligibility guidelines for low-income housing to deter crime. These eligibility guidelines worsened the chances of some felons being accepted into the program.

How To Apply

The local Housing Authorities should receive your application as many times as possible. There may be waiting lists for Section 8 applications that have been closed. When the list reopens, ask when to apply and check back then.

There will be a lot of paperwork involved in applying for low income apartments for felons, and you will be expected to submit several different documents. One of the most important steps will be a criminal background check. Therefore, it is pointless to apply and lie about your felony on the application.

The following are the documents you'll need to apply (this list may vary depending on your program, so be sure to review the guidelines on the HUD application).

  • Fill out the Standard Application (on the website of the Housing Authority in your state or personally at a HUD office)
  • Citizenship and legal status certificates
  • Original birth certificates
  • Social Security Number
  • You will also need pay stubs (at least three months, but many places require proof of income for six or more months)
  • Bank statements
  • Criminal background check
  • Credit Score check
  • Tax forms
  • Benefits such as welfare payments and food stamps as announced by government agencies
  • Document proving current residence
  • List all of your places of residence over the past five years.

Despite the temptation to leave out a landlord with whom you had a bad relationship, it's very important not to leave any gaps. You might be disqualified if you leave gaps in your application.

You will need to schedule a personal interview with a Housing Authority representative after submitting your application. You have the opportunity to express your concerns and explain why you will be a good tenant who will not cause any problems. Mentioning that you have a felony is also a good way to demonstrate your commitment to being a productive citizen.

A Housing Authority representative may call your previous landlords to inquire about your rental history. Having references from landlords who would speak highly of you would be helpful.

Be sure to make copies of all the documents you have submitted and the application for your records. Additionally, it is helpful to keep a log where you note when and where you applied, whether you followed up, etc. This process requires you to be organized because government agencies lose paperwork frequently and need you to produce documents quickly.

Who Has Priority?

Several circumstances will make your application more attractive if it is found eligible. It may only take a couple of months to receive an appointment. Priority may be given to you if:

  • There is no place for you to call home currently
  • You are suffering from a serious medical emergency
  • The apartment you are currently living in is condemned
  • Rent consumes more than 50% of your income
  • You are the victim of domestic violence
  • You will be evicted without any fault of your own
  • You reside in the area

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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