Second Chance Rental Training:
Arizona Department of Housing introduces rental training for inmates exiting State prison
The Arizona Department of Housing recently launched a special effort to provide rental training to inmates in preparation for release from Arizona’s State Prisons. This is one of several initiatives the Department will be launching over the next few months to assist ex-offenders in successfully reintegrating back into society. This effort builds on other job and life skills training, as well as other forms of assistance that the State has been working on to help inmates leaving prison increase their chance for success post-release, in order to reduce their odds of recidivating.
In early December, Southwest Fair Housing, a nonprofit fair housing organization that has been contracted with by the Department, began training the first group of 15 inmates housed at the Lewis Prison Second Chance Center in Buckeye. The initial training also included the opportunity to train peer trainers. Peer trainers are inmates who have shown an interest in being trained to train other inmates in skills that they will need upon release. Utilizing the services of peer trainers will allow the State to deploy this type of training at other state facilities at little cost.
This new training effort, which is being called Second Chance Rental Training will provide up to 5 hours of classroom instruction, delivered in one to two-hour segments, and covers the gamut of topics, from how to apply to a landlord for a rental unit with the best chances of success, to how to be a good tenant, and stay housed. Inmates who have no credit or bad credit and may have past evictions on their record or possibly no past rental history whatsoever, will learn how to mitigate the risk factors their past presents to prospective landlords. Inmates who complete the training will be provided with a certificate of training completion that they can share in their search for housing.
The program’s initial goal will be to train at least 1,300 inmates passing through the Lewis Prison Second Chance Center over the next 12 months, with the future goal of deploying the training statewide.