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In his own words: the right to rent

A former felon shares his frustrations in finding decent housing when you have a criminal record.

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

A new study this week links poor health to poor housing conditions in Arkansas.

Tonight we give voice to one man who shared his story at a press conference about these findings.

Roshon Vance was living in a Little Rock apartment complex in 2015 when rain collapsed the ceiling.

"They would not fix it,” recalls Vance. “Their remedy was to bring by some buckets. And I actually had to drop out of Pulaski Tech because I was going back and forth dealing with this situation. Code Enforcement told me to get out of there."

"I was looking around all across the city and because I am a felon nobody would rent to me,” says Vance. “I've lost at least three to four hundred dollars in application fees. $25 here, $35 here, $50 bucks here. I have a Class D felony...right above a misdemeanor. No sex crime, no violent crime. But nobody would rent to me."

"And I was like really depressed,” shares Vance. “I never gave up. I was constantly applying for apartments all over the city."

"The recidivism rate is going to continue to be high if people cannot find a decent place to live and if they cannot find gainful employment," argues Vance.

"If you have the wherewithal and the financial condition to stay in a nice area and you have a low level crime I don't see why there is a barrier where you can't go rent to a nice place,” says Vance. “Because that does a lot for your peace of mind."

"I can understand if a person is convicted of a sex crime or is a murderer or has a Class Y felony or something like that,” says Vance. “But just to blanketly discriminate against people because they made a mistake in their life...I don't think that's right."

Vance has a good job and found a decent place to live but says he knows a lot of others who are still looking.

Last year the federal government encouraged landlords to consider applicants with felony records on a case-by-case basis.

Air date: March 10th, 2017

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