Like anywhere else in the country, finding jobs for felons in Georgia is not an easy thing. Apart from the discrimination that comes with having a criminal record, the economic situation is not helping. Ex-Offenders.net (http://exoffenders.net/employment-jobs-for-felons/) is a good source of information and links to jobs for ex-felons. The focus of this site is to help former prisoners find employment by listing felon-friendly employers. While the listing is extensive, it is not a guarantee that you will get employment from any of the companies, but it is a good starting point.
The Middle Georgia Workforce Investment Board (http://www.mgwib.com/exo.html) is another good source of job leads and information for ex-offenders. Apart from job placement help, MGWIB also provide training opportunities for people who have lost their jobs due to lay-offs and other circumstances.
Some Felon-Friendly Companies
Jobs for felons in Georgia can be found in companies that are known to be felon friendly. Some companies that fall into this category are:
Applebee’s (http://www.applebees.com/about-us/work-with-us): placements as hourly paid team members are generally available, but you may find jobs in other areas of the chain as well.
IHOP (http://www.ihop.com/careers): like many other food service companies, there are employment opportunities in various areas of the company. You can apply online or in person at a restaurant.
Goodwill stores (http://www.goodwill.org/): felons with a history of violent crimes and sex offences are normally not able to find employment with Goodwill.
Golden Coral (http://goldencorral.hodesiq.com/job_start.asp): Apart from employment in various areas, you can also find part-time or full-time jobs with this company.
Aramark Food Services (https://allcareers-aramark.icims.com/): job placements in this company can be in many different areas, not just in food services.
While some felon-friendly employers have restrictions on the type of ex-felons they employ, some will take a chance on you. As with many other programs and help available to ex-felons, those with a record of sex and drug offenses are at a greater disadvantage. Violent crime offenders and those ex-convicts involved in certain types of fraud are also at a greater risk of not finding employment in some areas.
Housing for Felons in Georgia
One of the agencies that help provide housing for felons in Georgia is the Re-Entry Partnership Housing (RPH) (http://www.dca.state.ga.us/housing/specialneeds/programs/rph.asp). This program provides housing for prisoners whose release has been authorized by the Parole Board but they have nowhere to live. Without suitable accommodations, these ex-felons have to remain in prison. Under this program, a landlord will be paid to provide housing to the ex-convict for three months. They should not charge the parolee since the program will pay them. You have to check periodically to see when applications are being accepted.
Some categories of felons can get housing under Section 8 (http://www.gasection8.com/) although those with recent convictions are generally no qualified for this benefit. Those charged with violent crimes, sex offenses and some drug offences are also barred from benefiting under Section 8.
When looking for somewhere to live, for many felons it may be easier to look for houses rather than apartments. With apartments and condominiums, you generally have to deal with property management companies with rules against renting to ex-felons. With a private home, you may be able to convince the homeowner that you are now a law-abiding citizen and that they should give you a chance.
Friends and family members can also help you find suitable housing. They can talk to their own landlords on your behalf and provide recommendations. Some will even rent you their attic or share their homes with you.
If you are having problems finding housing, your parole officer or even a lawyer may be able to direct you to agencies that help former prisoners find accommodation. During the course of their career, they are sure to have had questions from others about where to find jobs and housing.
Programs for Felons in Georgia
There are many programs in existence in the state of Georgia that target ex-offenders to help them re-enter society after prison. Some employers will take on an ex-felon if they are bonded. One federal program that provides this kind of support is the Federal Bonding Program of the US Department of Labor (http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/job-seekers-/federal-bonding-program-). This provides fidelity bonds of honesty to employers of ex-inmates and other hard-to-place workers. The National Hire Network (http://www.hirenetwork.org/content/georgia) is a good source of information on finding jobs and other resources for ex-felons in Georgia.
Many ex-felons want to contribute to society and live a normal life, however not being able to find employment is a major challenge. Without a source of income, many ex-prisoners are unable to afford rent or many other amenities to enable a decent standard of living. Some are lucky to have the support of family and friends, however, some will need to find organizations that will provide information and help.
As an ex-felon, when you find housing make sure to sign a lease agreement. Having a conviction on your record can make you fair game for unscrupulous landlords so you need to protect yourself.
With perseverance, it is possible to find both housing and employment in Georgia even if you have a criminal record. The key is to keep trying even when the situation is challenging.