Finding a place to live after serving time is tough, especially in a state like Oklahoma with some of the strictest laws against felons. But don't lose hope. There's plenty of options and resources to help you in your search for housing assistance for felons in Oklahoma. You've paid your dues, now it's time to rebuild your life. While it likely seems like most landlords deny housing once they do a background check, not all of them do.
Some are open to giving people second chances, you just have to find them. And if that doesn't work out, don't worry, there are organizations that want to see you succeed and are willing to advocate on your behalf. Stay determined. Stay focused on your goals.
Finding Felon-Friendly Housing and Private Rentals
Finding an apartment as a felon in Oklahoma is difficult, but it's definitely not impossible. Start by searching “second chance” or “felon-friendly” apartments. Some private landlords and smaller property managers could be open to renting to those with a criminal history.
You're going to have the best luck looking at smaller complexes or single-family homes. Explain your situation honestly to the landlord and highlight your efforts at rehabilitation. Offer references from employers, probation officers, counselors or community leaders who can vouch for you. Some may require an increased security deposit.
Check sites such as Zillow or local Facebook Marketplace listings. Look for words like “background check required” or “felonies okay” in the listings to find suitable landlords. Don’t waste time applying to corporate-owned properties or places that advertise strict background checks.
Private rentals from owners on Craigslist or Hotpads could also be worth a look. Meet with the landlord and be upfront about your history. Have your references and paperwork ready before starting to search.
Some nonprofits like Home Partnership Foundation and Foundation Communities offer transitional housing and programs for those with a criminal background. While availability is limited, they can be an option if all else fails. Stay determined and keep putting in the effort. With time and persistence, you can find a place to call home.
Tips on Explaining Your Criminal History to Landlords
When explaining your criminal history to potential landlords, honesty is definitely important. Be upfront about your charges and convictions, but focus on how you’ve grown and changed since then.
- Express genuine remorse for your past actions. Say something like “I made some poor choices when I was younger that I sincerely regret.” Let them know you’ve learned from your mistakes.
- Discuss the steps you’ve taken to get your life back on track. For example, “I served my time, completed parole, and have been steadily employed for the past two years.” Highlight your rehabilitation and commitment to living a law-abiding life now.
- Provide references from people who can vouch for your character. Ask former employers, parole officers, counselors or mentors if they would be willing to give you a positive reference. Their support can go a long way.
- Be prepared to explain the full details of your criminal record if asked. Reiterate the ways you’ve grown and changed. Offer to consent to background checks if needed to provide peace of mind.
- Consider checking housing options specifically geared toward people with criminal records or that don’t do background checks. Some nonprofits and government programs may be able to help. Don’t lose hope!
With time and effort, even those with a criminal history could obtain housing. By taking responsibility for your actions, highlighting your rehabilitation, and providing references to vouch for you, you're going to reassure landlords and give yourself the best chance of finding an apartment. The road could be difficult, but with determination you're going to get there.
Transitional and Reentry Housing Options in Oklahoma
Need a place to stay immediately? Explore transitional or reentry housing!
Transitional housing provides temporary housing for those coming out of incarceration, treatment programs, or homelessness. Typically something like 6-12 months. Some options in Oklahoma include:
- Center of Family Love provides transitional housing or rental assistance for men in Oklahoma City. They offer case management and employment assistance.
- Bridges Foundation in Tulsa offers transitional housing for women with children. They provide childcare, healthcare, education, and job placement services.
Reentry housing offers more long-term housing for former inmates and others with criminal records. Some options in Oklahoma include:
- Oxford Houses are self-governing reentry homes. Residents pay rent and share household responsibilities. There are over a dozen Oxford Houses across Oklahoma.
- The Center of Hope in Oklahoma City provides reentry housing and support services for men. Residents can stay up to 2 years while gaining stability and independence.
While finding housing in Oklahoma with a felony conviction is a challenge, there are organizations aimed at helping people get back on their feet. Do some research on transitional and reentry housing options in or around your area. Many provide additional support services to help set you up for success once you leave. With hard work and determination, overcome your past mistakes to build a stable life.
Programs to Help Felons Find Apartments
Lastly -- several programs also help felons find housing in Oklahoma. These programs work to provide affordable housing options to get back on your feet.
The Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing programs for low-income families or felons. Options such as Section 8 vouchers help subsidize rent in private housing markets. Public developments also offer lower rent for qualified tenants. Apply with your local Public Housing Authority (PHA) to determine eligibility for these need-based programs.
Non-Profit Housing Organizations
Various non-profits in Oklahoma provide affordable & sanitary housing services. Groups like Habitat for Humanity construct and renovate homes for those in need of shelter. Catholic Charities of Oklahoma and other faith-based non-profits offer emergency assistance for housing and utilities. Community Action Agencies provide resources and programs to promote self-sufficiency, including help with rent, deposits, and temporary housing.
Exploring these housing programs and options can help felons in Oklahoma find an affordable place to call home. With support, resources, and determination, securing stable housing is possible.
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