Housing and a job are the focus for anyone who is about to be released from prison. Unfortunately, for many freed felons these are two of the hardest things to find once they are free.
The best thing to do is to start looking at programs to help smooth the way even before leaving prison. Many correctional institutions have programs geared towards helping inmates prepare for their return to society. It makes sense to take advantage of every opportunity to learn a skill, how to write a resume and research companies that will employ felons.
When looking for felon friendly jobs in Oregon, you need to be realistic so as to avoid being disappointed. In most cases, you will find employment in sectors that may not pay well.
Some popular places that will employ people with a criminal record include fast-food chains, restaurants, clubs, and the construction and roofing industries. One of the good things about getting employment in some of these sectors is that there is not much emphasis on doing a background or criminal history check.
The National Reentry Resource Center (http://csgjusticecenter.org/nrrc/) is a good starting point for information on jobs and housing for felons. It is not impossible for a felon to find employment with the federal government. This will however depend on the type of offence committed and how long ago it was committed. The armed forces will also give waivers for some types of offences, so you should apply if you qualify and see what happens. The state’s Department of Corrections (http://www.oregon.gov/doc/pages/doc_divisions.aspx) also offers information to inmates that can help them with their transition back into the free world.
Prison talk (http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/): Provides an opportunity for former prisoners to help each other navigate the world outside prison. The forum has discussions focusing on helping felons to find employment. It is also a source of encouragement for family members and friends of former felons. Buzzle (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/jobs-for-convicted-felons/) also has information on jobs for felons and companies that employ those with criminal records.
Some tips for seeking employment as an ex-felon include:
- Know what jobs your conviction will bar you from and do not apply for those, for example, if you were convicted of car theft, do not apply to work at a car dealer
- Get references from people who can vouch for your character and your desire to make a new start
- Be honest about your past, but instead of trying to explain what you did wrong, emphasize your desire to get your life back on track
- Keep upgrading your skills
- Volunteering is a good way to get your foot in the door in your job search. This is also a good way to improve your skills and beef up your resume at the same time.
Types of companies that sometimes hire felons include those that need:
- Drivers and delivery people
- Fast food workers
- Waiters and kitchen staff
- Construction workers
Online staff such as customer service representatives and data entry personnel
Any rules for finding felon friendly jobs in Portland, Oregon can be used throughout the state. Use the information you gain from organizations, whether online or face-to-face to help you improve your skills and your job seeking methods.
How to Find Housing for Felons in Oregon
Renting an apartment or house after being released from prison is not an easy task. Most landlords will check your credit and criminal history before renting their property. A felony conviction in most cases will go against you. In fact, most property management companies and homeowners will not rent property to someone with a criminal record. As unfair as this may seem, some homeowners have had bad experiences when they rented to ex-felons.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/oregon) will consider some applications for assistance from felons. Of course, those with convictions for some drug offences and being a registered sex offender will automatically prevent you from applying. Short-term and transitional housing options are also available especially to the newly released.
When seeking a suitable place to live as an ex-felon, there are some steps you can take to improve the odds of getting a decent place. Some of these include:
- Be honest to the prospective landlord. You do not need to go into details about the crime, but since most will check your criminal background, be upfront with this information.
- Look into renting from a single occupancy house or directly from an individual rather than a large apartment complex.
- Use your network. Ask pastors, parole officers and others that are in a position to meet and interact with a lot of people for help. They will be able to give you information on where to look for housing.
With the right attitude and determination, it is possible to overcome many of the obstacles to establishing a life after prison. Flexibility is a necessary part of readjustment on the outside after serving time in prison.