Many felons struggle with paying rent and are at risk of becoming homeless. Ending up on the street can often lead one back to a life of crime, so its important to know that there is emergency housing help out there.
If you are struggling with making your rent payments and have gotten an eviction notice from your landlord, its time to get proactive and seek help paying rent.
There are numerous federal and state government programs that can assist with short term rental payments, emergency housing and homelessness prevention.
Lets take a look at various resources and organizations you can use to get help paying your rent so that you don’t end up on the streets.
Remember the best way to ensure that you can keep up with monthly rent payments, is by having a stable job. So searching for a job should be your number 1 priority, once you handle your housing crisis.
State Funded Rental Assistance Programs
Every state runs a program that helps struggling tenants avoid eviction by helping cover a security deposit, 1-2 month rent, moving costs assistance, utility bills and other housing expenses. They service low income families who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless.
Each program has a cap on how much financial assistance a family can get in one year (12 month period). For example, RAFT – the housing assistance program in Massachusetts, has a $4,000 maximum per family.
You can search https://www.rentassistance.us/ for all local agencies that can help with rent and other housing expenses.
Keep in mind that one of the ways to reduce the risk of becoming homeless is to look for a cheaper apartment, this way you will have an easier time making monthly payments. You should also consider getting one or more roommates, as this is usually a good way to ease the financial burden of paying rent.
Because felons have a much harder time finding suitable housing and landlords who are willing to rent an apartment to them, its important to have an extra safety net to avoid homelessness. Often, family and/or friends can help by allowing you to stay with them for a short period of time, while you are getting back on your feet, looking for a job, etc.
Salvation Army Emergency Assistance and Homeless Prevention
Salvation Army is a nationwide organization, with local branches located all over the United States, that offers short term loans in case of a housing emergency. They strive to prevent homelessness, and can help cover up to 1 month rent for eligible applicants. In addition to rent payments, Salvation Army can also help with the following:
– Heating and other utility bills
– Medical bills
– Transportation assistance
Get help by calling the Salvation Army Hot Line: 773.205.3520 or find a local branch near you.
Catholic Charities USA
You may be surprised to find out that Catholic Charities is one of the biggest providers of affordable housing in the US. The organization’s goal is to eradicate homelessness completely and so far Catholic Charities has built 35,000 affordable housing units in various parts of the country.
Catholic Charities also provides emergency rapid rehousing services for people who have just become homeless. There are 11,000 housing beds available to formerly homeless individuals and families.
To find help with housing, contact your local Catholic Charities branch in your area.
211.org is a nationwide organization and hotline that helps people who are experiencing various types of emergency situations, including a housing crisis. Each year, 211 helps over 4 million callers with emergency housing and short term financial assistance to pay rent. They do not discriminate against anyone, including individuals with a felony conviction. All calls made to the hotline are 100% confidential.
When you call, a trained expert will quickly help you find local state and none profit organizations that handle housing emergencies so your family does not end up on the street.
Don’t hesitate to dial 211 and get the help you need right now.
If you are a female felon who is also a single mother, singlemothergrants.org is a great resource that can help you pay your rent. They list various government, private and none profit organizations that specifically provide financial aid and loans to single mothers. This assistance includes help with food stamps, housing, medical bills, child care, transportation and more. You can search their website for programs that are available in your area.
Modest Needs Self Sufficiency Grant
Modestneeds.org is a none profit organization that helps low income individuals cover an unexpected emergency expense, including rental payments. To apply for a self-sufficiency grant at least one member of the household needs to be legally employed and can show proof of income. Other types of acceptable income are social security, child support, disability payments. You can fill out an application directly on their website. Remember that you will need to provide proof of income.
Keep in mind that this short term loan is for a real emergency only, and will NOT be paid out directly to the applicant. For example, if you are applying for rental assistance, Modest Needs will issue the check to your landlord, and not to you directly.
Many local churches have some funding set aside to help with emergency rental assistance. You should just try walking into your local churches and explaining your situation. It’s best if you have family and friends as church members that can vouch that you are a trustworthy person, who will not simply steel this money. If you don’t know anybody who attends church regularly, try to have a few letters of references, such as from an employer or a parole officer etc.
Apply for a Section 8 Voucher
If you have low income and meet other eligibility criteria, you should apply for a Section 8 Housing Voucher. Its a government subsidy that will enable you to have much lower rent compared to standard rent prices in your neighborhood.
Keep in mind that getting Section 8 may take years, so its not an immediate solution if you are facing a housing crisis right now. However, its an excellent long term housing opportunity and you should definitely take advantage of it, by applying for Section 8 housing.
Please help our community by sharing other organizations and programs that help with paying rent or finding affordable housing. What are some tips you can personally share on how you were able to resolve your housing problems?