Housing is one of the most immediate and important parts of a strong reentry. In the HOUSING CHAPTER, you will learn more about your housing options and legal rights; what kind of housing you can and cannot get into because of your criminal record; and things you can do if your legal rights are violated.

DISCLAIMER – YOUR RESPONSIBILITY WHEN USING THIS GUIDE: When putting together the Roadmap to Reentry: A California Legal Guide, we did our best to give you useful and accurate information because we know that people who are currently or formerly incarcerated often have difficulty getting legal information, and we cannot provide specific advice to every person who requests it. The laws change frequently and are subject to differing interpretations. We do not always have the resources to make changes to this material every time the law changes. If you use information from the Roadmap to Reentry legal guide, it is your responsibility to make sure whether the law has changed and applies to your situation. If you are incarcerated, most of the materials you need should be available in your institution’s law library. The Roadmap to Reentry guide is not intending to give legal advice, but rather legal information. No attorney-client relationship is created by using any information in this guide. You should always consult your own attorney if you need legal advice specific to your situation.

WHAT WILL I LEARN in the housing chapter?

    Your housing options in reentry—both in the short-term and long-termThe different between private and government-assisted housing, and how this affects your rightsWhat kind of housing you can and cannot get because of your criminal recordHow to put your best foot forward in applying for housingOptions for what you can do if you believe you were illegally denied housing
  1. Introduction

    1. Key Terms in the Housing Chapter

  2. Looking for & Identifying Good Housing Options

    1. What are the first steps I should take in my housing search?
    2. Can I find housing while I am still incarcerated?
    3. What are some steps I can take if I am worried about becoming homeless?
    4. Will my parole or probation officer help me find somewhere to live?
    5. What are my housing options after release?
    6. Short-Term Housing Overview

    7. Long-Term Housing Overview

    8. Housing for Special Needs & Populations

    9. Private vs. Government-Assisted Housing: An overview


    1. Understanding Housing Eligibility

    2. Criminal Record Bans To Be Aware Of Before You Apply to Housing

    3. Your Rights Against Illegal Denials from Government-Assisted Housing Because of Your Criminal Record

    4. Improving Your Chances Of Getting Into Government-Assisted Housing—Offering Proof Of Rehabilitation & Mitigating Factors

  4. ACCESS TO YOUR criminal RECORDS as you apply for Housing

    1. An Overview of the Types of Criminal Records that Could Show Up as you Apply For Housing

    2. Access to Your Criminal Records as You Apply for Private Housing

    3. Access to Your Criminal Records As You Apply For Government-Assisted Housing:

    4. Errors in Your Background Check Report & How to Correct Them—An Overview

  5. Joining Family & Friends in Housing

    1. Joining Family or Friends in Private Housing

    2. Joining Family or Friends in Government-Assisted Housing

  6. Challenging denials from housing

    1. Challenging Denials to Private Housing:

    2. Challenging Denials to Government-Assisted Housing

  7. Maintaining MY HOUSING

    1. General Tips for Renters

    2. Evictions: Just the basics



    1. A List of PHAs in California and their Contact Information
    2. A list of transitional housing that may accept your application while you are still incarcerated
    3. Fact Sheet on CDCR-Funded Pre-Release Transitional Housing
    4. NHLP Chart—Federally Assisted Housing Programs: Admissions For Applicants With Certain Criminal Backgrounds
    5. Disabilities & Requesting Reasonable Accommodations on Any Housing Application
    6. Sample Consent Form that Your Drug or Alcohol Treatment Program Could Use to Disclose Information About Your Treatment
    7. Housing Owners’/Landlords’ Access to Credit Reports
    8. San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance
    9. Filing a Complaint for Illegal Discrimination in Private Housing
    10. Rural development (RD) grievance procedures
    11. Transitional Housing Participant Misconduct Act (THPMA)