Finding housing with a criminal history can be challenging, but is an essential component of getting re-integrated after incarceration. Beyond the just finding a place, it is important to identify places near employers and/or public transportation.
Los Angeles, CA
Unlock Available Housing.
Tips When Looking for Housing & Apartments.
Make a good first impression. Nice attire and a firm handshake can go a long way. Asking questions that show you care about and would likely take care of the property also can help how you may be perceived as a tenant. Take note of any details they provide.
Be honest about prior issues, if asked. Once you’re asked about anything that comes up on a background check, honesty is the best policy. Some landlords may be inclined to give you a shot; other may not. Like many things, finding the right housing is a numbers game.
Remain calm. If you meet with a landlord and they refuse to rent to you, be kind and courteous regardless of outcome. You never know what the future holds, you may very well get a call later down the road if they can’t find anyone else to rent the unit.
Housing Choice Voucher Program.
The housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
Qualifying participants are free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. If awarded, your vouchers will be paid to your landlord directly by your local Housing Authority on your behalf. You’d then pay the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program to your landlord.
In general, the family’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, your local Housing Authority must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The Housing Authority serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.
During the application process, the your Housing Authority will collect information on family income, assets, and family composition. Your local Housing Authority will verify this information with other local agencies, your employer and bank, and will use the information to determine program eligibility and the amount of the housing assistance payment
If your local Housing Authority determines that your family is eligible, they will put your name on a waiting list, unless it is able to assist you immediately. Once your name is reached on the waiting list, your Housing Authority should contact you and issue to you a housing voucher.
The housing unit selected by the you must then meet an acceptable level of health and safety before the your local Housing Authority will be able to approve the unit. Once you’ve found a unit you wish to occupy and reaches an agreement with the landlord over the lease terms, the your local Housing Authority will inspect the unit and determine that the rent requested is reasonable.
From there, your local Housing Authority will determine the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced unit in the local housing market, and that amount will be used to calculate how much housing assistance a family will receive. However the payment standard does not limit and does not affect the amount of rent a landlord may charge or the family may pay.
A family which receives a housing voucher can select a unit with a rent that is below or above the payment standard. The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.
If awarded, your vouchers will be paid to your landlord directly by your local Housing Authority on your behalf. You’d then pay the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program to your landlord.
Find Your Local Housing Authority
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit Christian organization that partners with future and current homeowners to build simple, decent, and affordable housing for low to very low-income families. Through Habitat for Humanity, volunteers and future homeowners work together in the building process. As part of their willingness to partner, Habitat’s homebuyers invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called sweat equity, working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners.
Each local Habitat’s family selection committee selects homeowners based on three criteria:
Applicant’s level of need.
Willingness to partner with Habitat.
Ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.
Habitat’s homeowner selection is managed at the local level, through our hundreds of local Habitat for Humanity locations all over the U.S. and around the world. For more information and to learn how you can participate or apply, please contact your local Habitat, or call 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828).
Find Your Local Habitat for Humanity
FHA Loan Eligibility.
What is an FHA Loan?
An FHA loan is a mortgage designed for low-to-moderate income borrowers who are unable to make a large down payment. They are issued by federally qualified lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Check below to see if you qualify.