Are there any housing programs for felons in California? When you need help to reenter society, some housing programs are available through various charity, federal, and state government programs.
Securing housing is the foundation of successful reentry, and the resources listed below will help you find a place to call home.
The Department Of Housing And Urban Development (HUD)
HUD is the federal agency responsible for funding subsidized housing programs. If you meet the income limits, you can apply for an apartment in a public housing development or a Section 8 voucher which is used to pay rent to a private landlord.
Because of the extremely high demand for housing assistance, both housing programs have long waiting lists, so fill out an application as soon as you can. If the waiting list in your area is closed, sign up to receive a notification when the list reopens.
In California, the California Housing Authority runs the HUD programs. You’re eligible to apply for public housing or Section 8 if your household income is below 50% of the median income for your area.
All applicants for subsidized housing programs also have to pass a background check but having a felony isn’t an automatic disqualification.
To apply, go to the HUD website at https://www.hud.gov/states/california/renting/hawebsites then follow the link for your county.
HUD programs help felons with low incomes obtain permanent, affordable housing, but because of the long waiting lists, you may need to rely on transitional housing programs which provide temporary accommodation.
State And Local Reentry Programs For Felons
Reentry services provided through California state and city programs are usually arranged pre-release through prisons, or accessed via a referral from a parole officer.
These reentry programs provide transitional housing, employment, education, skills training, and substance abuse rehab to help recently released felons get back on their feet.
Contact your parole officer for more information.
Charity Housing Programs For Felons In California
Charities provide a wide range of reentry services for former felons. Charity case workers can also help you with your public housing or Section 8 application. In California, you can contact the following charities for assistance.
Volunteers Of America
Volunteers Of America run several programs that felons can use to find housing in California.
Contact the charity to get a place at a shelter, to get help finding emergency housing and transitional housing, and to learn more about their reentry program.
Visit the VOA website at https://www.voa.org/ and look under “Services”.
Catholic Charities will help you find emergency shelter. Their case managers will also help you find and apply for transitional housing and long-term housing in California.
Catholic Charities provide help to those in need, regardless of religious beliefs.
In addition to housing programs, the charity also provides financial assistance, low-cost legal help, medical assistance, and food and clothing.
Visit https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/find-help/ and enter your location to find contact details for your nearest organization.
The Salvation Army In California
The Salvation Army operates shelters for those who are already homeless or facing the risk of homelessness in California. The charity also helps felons find transitional and permanent housing.
Other services offered include help with basic needs like food and transportation, skills training, job placements, and childcare.
Visit the Salvation Army website at https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/provide-shelter/ and enter your zip code to find a shelter in your area. The shelter will be able to provide other help once you get in touch.
Delancey Street Foundation
Delancey Street offers its unique housing program in two California locations.
Delancey Street San Francisco
600 Embarcadero San Francisco, CA 94107
Delancey Street Los Angeles
400 N. Vermont Street
Los Angeles, CA 90004
The Delancey Street reentry program is a residential program with a minimum 2-year stay, for felons, drug addicts, and homeless people. In addition to housing, residents in the program receive vocational training and academic coaching.
Delancey Street also puts a strong focus on equipping residents with important life skills and social skills.
Learn more at https://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org
If you’re currently homeless or expect to be homeless soon, contact any of the charities we’ve listed and ask for help finding a shelter place or transitional housing.
For long-term housing programs for felons in California, you’ll need to apply for public housing or the Section 8 voucher program.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help, or think that help isn’t available to someone like you. Charities and reentry programs help former felons every day, and their experience and local networks make them valuable resources.
Offenders who get help with their reentry have lower recidivism rates and a much higher chance of establishing a successful and fulfilling life.
Charles Greg is the Co-Founder, Author, & Head Developer behind RentingtoFelons.org
With a lifelong passion for humanity.