In today's tight housing market, landlords can be much more selective in who they rent their properties to. Because of this, there are certain groups of tenants that are finding it more and more difficult to find affordable housing.
Today we're going to talk about one of these groups and the efforts by the state and West Michigan community to help them.
We're going to take a look at Returning Citizens, those who have been incarcerated, served their time, and are looking to re-enter society and find stable housing - which is an important part of preventing recidivism.
This episode will definitely be of interest to landlords who are willing to consider the benefits of renting to returning citizens, as well as anyone interested in understanding the difficulty they face in finding a place to live.
This is a round-table discussion, and we've gathered a great group of guests to share their perspectives:
Angie Sprank is the Community Coordinator for Region 4 Offender Success Program and helps returning citizens remain successful in their transition back to society.
Shellie Cole-Mickens is the Founder and Director of House of Blessings, providing housing and support for women with mental health and substance abuse challenges as well as extensive criminal histories. She is also a returned citizen since 1996.
JoNathan Martin is a returned citizen since 2015, and works closely with other returning citizens to offer them support and guidance.
Ruth Walters is an officer with the Grand Rapids Police Department and runs a program called "CLEAR" for returning citizens to assist them in staying in the community.
For more information on the Offender Success Program in the West Michigan area you can contact Angie Sprank at:
For those outside of Michigan, you can contact your state's Department of Corrections.