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A Shameful Dearth

By Rex Goode

I imagine it is a problem in most parts of the country, but here in Multnomah County, Oregon, where I live and work, it is nearly impossible for a person with a felony on his record to find housing. I’m not talking about myself. My record is clean. I have clients for whom this is not true.

One felon summed it up this way regarding the availability of apartments for felons in Oregon:

there are none if you want to live somewhere then you have to basically lie about your living there and have it in someone else’s name and pray that nobody finds out. even if it has been years since it happened and your a completely different person they don’t care.

While I can understand the feelings of apartment owners who believe that a felon tenant may be troublesome and they would prefer they live somewhere else, if every apartment owner shares that sentiment, then felons will live nowhere. When a felon lives nowhere, a felon’s options are reduced to things that could easily lead to more crime.

What options do a felon have for housing? Ex-cons with money of their own can buy a home or maybe already own one. That has to be a pretty low percentage. They may have a family member that can take them in, as long as that family member owns his dwelling. Most apartment owners do background checks on every person who lives in an apartment. You may be able to have a felon move in without initial questions, but the questions will come and will likely result in an eviction.

A hotel is an option. They do not do background checks. They are, of course, far more expensive. One of the cheapest and run-down hotels in the Portland area charges over $50 per night, with a negligible break for weekly stays. That makes a monthly rent well over $1000. Most released felons who are looking for a job will find it hard to make enough money to pay that.

The worst option is re-offending. Forcing felons to be homeless through housing policies that make it impossible for a felon to have a home, narrows the options to crimes like vagrancy, shoplifting, theft, and whatever else it may require to survive on the streets.

Portland has a deplorable track record for homelessness. No one really cares. They just want the “parasites” gone. Review the comments at BlueOregon about this. Portland loves a liberal cause, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience people who like to where the shiny badge of social justice. That badge is covered in filth.

If people on the streets are parasites, I ask, who made them that way? I answer: Portland area landlords and local Portland area governments.

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One Response to “A Shameful Dearth”

  1. Disability Reviews » Oregon Expands Abuse Definitions said:

    […] For some clients I have a contract for assisting with finding stable housing. With some clients, especially those with credit problems or criminal backgrounds, finding housing in the Portland, Oregon area market is nigh impossible. For more on this, see my blog post, A Shameful Dearth. […]

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