Homelessness Rates and Incarceration

One of the most cumbersome issues for many inmates to handle upon release from prison is finding housing. It can be challenging to spot a place that will accept them, and it’s often hard to get approved for rental assistance because they are considered high-risk tenants. Some organizations like The Osborne Association in New York City work with landlords to help people transition back into society more smoothly.

Here are some common problems that former inmates face when trying to find housing after being released from prison:

Being Considered a High-risk Tenant

Since most landlords will check an applicant’s rental history, it can be difficult for former inmates to get approved due to their records. They may not have been convicted of a felony in some cases, and the paper was deleted. However, even if that is true, many still see them as high-risk tenants because of past criminality, which makes renting extremely difficult.

Not Having Enough Money

Many former inmates do not have the resources to find housing independently. They may not afford a deposit or any rent in general, and many landlords will refuse them service because they don’t want tenants who can’t pay rent. Not only that, but since they have been gone for a while, it can be hard to find employment and get the income needed to afford housing on their own, especially if they were incarcerated for an extended period.

Being Turned Away by Housing Agencies

Many former inmates are turned away from the first place they look for assistance because of their criminal history. Even if it is not a conviction on their record, many landlords do criminal background checks before accepting tenants. They can turn them down based on what these reports say about someone’s past behavior, which makes the chances of finding help extremely slim.

It has been found out that not less than 10% of those released from prison end up homeless after serving their time.

There are many challenges that former inmates face when trying to find housing after being released from prison. One of the biggest problems is that they have difficulty finding landlords who will accept them as tenants because most consider them high risk and not worth the hassle. Many also do not qualify for rental assistance programs due to their criminal background, even if it was expunged, saving money is complicated and helps lead back into poverty and homelessness more easily.

Having To Lie About Their History

Even if they can get approved for housing, many former inmates are hesitant to tell landlords or the agencies who help them find accommodation that they were incarcerated because of how it will affect their future. Many are ashamed and don’t want people to judge them negatively due to what happened in the past, which makes withholding information familiar.

These obstacles make finding housing extremely difficult for those trying to begin fresh after being released from prison. There is not much support out there for ex-felons, so most have no idea where even to start looking for an apartment or house, let alone resources available should something happen along the way.


These are the main problems that former inmates face when trying to find housing. Even if they can get approved for a place, most don’t want to tell their landlords about what happened in the past because it will affect their future and make things harder on them than they need to be. There is not much help available, so many try and figure out ways around these issues themselves, which makes finding stable employment or getting assistance very difficult.