Pilot program will help ex-cons get a place to live in Genesee County
Many former prison inmates find it difficult to locate a landlord who will rent them a place to live.
Johnell Allen-Bey is the Flint regional coordinator for Nation Outside. It's a national advocacy group for the formerly incarcerated. He says many former inmates are forced to live with family or couch surf with friends.
“We automatically think ‘Oh yeah, they’re good.’ But they’re not,” said Allen-Bey. “If you’re sleeping at somebody’s house, you're homeless. It’s not your home.”
Nation Outside is teaming up with the Genesee County Sheriff’s office to launch a pilot program to encourage landlords to rent to former inmates, with assurances for rent and security deposit.
The pilot program will assist a dozen people. Organizers say the program could eventually benefit thousands of people in the Flint area alone.
Sheriff Chris Swanson says having their own apartment is critical for individuals making the transition from the big house to having a home to call their own.
“If you realty want to break poverty, if you want to break homelessness,” said Swanson, “Let’s start by fixing the problem, and that is get some stable housing.”
A representative of the Genesee County Land Bank says they are talking with Nation Outside about possibly working together, though at this point, there are no firm commitments.