Grants for Felons: Top 9+ Business, Housing & College Grants

grants for felons

Seeking suitable housing is one of the most difficult obstacles that any felon faces after being released from jail. Some people are fortunate enough to have family or relatives with whom they can live. However, many ex-felons have nowhere to go and end up in halfway houses or on the streets. Lack of housing and business funding options oftentimes leads to a life of crime, and then back behind bars. Fortunately, our government and some other non-governmental organizations are providing grants and benefit programs to assist ex-felons to start a business, housing, and school expenses. Generally, this will assist felons to effectively reintegrate into society.

However, you can never give up hope because there are grants and assistance available for felons and their families in need of housing.

Housing Grants and Assistance for Felons

Ex-felons benefit program

If you have a felony sentence and need emergency shelter, here are some choices and services to consider.

#1. Catholic Charities Housing Assistance.

Catholic Charities USA is one of the largest Christian organizations in the United States, supporting the needy in every state. So, they have been assisting with the reduction of poverty in America for over 100 years. They are assisting with food, lodging, work, health, and other necessities.

You can look up a Catholic Charities branch in your state on their website. To felons who qualify, they can provide financial grants as well as transitional, temporary housing.

Aside from Catholic Charities, it is a good idea for ex-felons to contact local religious organizations to request housing assistance or grants.

While many religious non-profits and churches may not be able to provide you with a place to live, they may be able to link you to organizations and services that will assist ex-felons in your quest for affordable housing and other benefit programs.

#2. Local Emergency Housing Nonprofits

Every state has a variety of non-profit organizations committed to the fight against homelessness. They receive funding from both the federal and state governments, as well as private donors.

These agencies include families, individuals with diseases such as HIV, mental health problems, criminal records, and people with disabilities with temporary and transitional housing units. They are dedicated to assisting individuals and families in need. This in turn helps in avoiding permanent homelessness and the life of crime that is often associated with it.

For example, Home First is a New Jersey-based company that provides a variety of apartment units throughout Union County.

#3. Halfway Houses 

Many felons are soon released from jail and placed in a halfway house. Others who are unable to find appropriate living arrangements will seek refuge at a nearby halfway house. So, a halfway house provides free boarding in a controlled setting. They have certain rules and schedules that must be observed, as well as duties assigned to each occupant.

A halfway house provides a strict atmosphere. However, is a good choice for an ex-convict to help them integrate back into normal society. This could be a particularly good choice for people who do not have family or friends who can assist them.

A parole officer will provide you with a list of halfway houses in your area. Another alternative is to check the term “halfway house” on the internet. You will be provided with local listings in your area.

#4. Rental Assistance Services offered by HUD

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD for short, provides a range of services to help ex-felons find low-income housing. So the services include:

Public housing

There are low-income housing projects in the area where you can find an apartment. You must send an application to a local PHA. But don’t get this mixed up with Section 8! Public housing is an entirely different initiative with its own set of requirements and waits times.

Check for housing services on the HUD website to find housing assistance in your region. They also have listings for low-income apartment rentals, local PHAs, homeless services, and elderly and special needs housing.

Counseling for the homeless

If you were an ex-felon and are still homeless, HUD offers free therapy to assist you in finding accommodation or grants. To meet with a therapist from a housing counseling organization near you, call (800) 569-4287.

Homeless Housing Assistance  

If you need emergency accommodation, HUD offers a directory of nearby homeless shelters and other ex-felon benefit programs that will assist you right away. So, to find local agencies and shelters near you, narrow your search by state. For more information click here.

Read also: Ohio Small Business Grants: A Comprehensive List For any Business (Updated!)

Small Business Grants for Felons

Below are some of the small business grants available for felons.

#1. Freelancers Marketplaces

Starting a company from home is often both low-cost and low-risk. Ex-convicts with expertise in graphic design, writing, information technology, or marketing should look into UpWork, Guru, and Freelancer. They provide grants, loans, and other funding options for felons to start a business.

#2. HelpForFelons.org

This website is about re-entering society in general, not about starting a company. However, they have a wide range of tips to assist felons with everything from legal information to obtaining college loans and grants.

Visit this page for links to each state’s reentry services for felons.

#3. From Inmates to Business Owners

Sageworks funds this nonprofit community outreach group. They assist ex-felons in obtaining the knowledge and grants that they need start their own businesses. Thus, this will help them become active members of society.

Online videos and information are examples of resources. You may also be able to attend in-person meetings or educational workshops if you live near a local chapter.

Read also: Federal Government Business Grants

School Grants and Scholarship Opportunities for Felons


The federal government is a major source of school grants for felons. You may have fewer options for federal financial aid while incarcerated for a felony conviction than you will when you are released. The majority of the eligibility restrictions will be lifted once they are released.

For your eligibility for federal student aid, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA will also assist you in determining how much aid you are eligible for in the form of loans and grants.

You may be ineligible for federal financial aid if you have been convicted of a drug-related offense or were involuntarily committed a sexual offense. Sexual offenses, for example, disqualify you from receiving the Federal Pell Grant. Also, drug-related offenses frequently necessitate the completion of an approved drug rehabilitation program.

Felons are eligible to apply for the following scholarships and grants:

#1. Federal Pell Grant for Felons

This is available to any citizen who is in dire financial need and is pursuing their first undergraduate degree. So, Pell Grants can cover the full cost of attending a public school for felons.

Inmates who have a drug conviction, have been involuntarily committed for a sexual offense, or are currently incarcerated in a state or federal facility may be ineligible.

#2. FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant)

These grants for felons are available through participating schools and range in value from $100 to $4,000 for college expenses.

FSEOGs are available to incarcerated felons. Because priority is given to students receiving Pell Grants, it may be more difficult to qualify.

#3. U.S. Department of Labor

This department offers federal work-study programs to felons. They can even be obtained while incarcerated, depending on availability and ability to perform job duties.

Grants are available for felons for trade schools, career training, and funding to start a small business.

#4. State Grants

Each state government has programs in place to provide grants and/or scholarships to students in need. Also, some have specialized programs for convicted felons.

#5. Community organizations, philanthropic foundations, nonprofits, corporations, and private individuals

These organizations may not provide grants and scholarships specifically for felons. However, they do not bar felons from applying for or receiving assistance.

Other Ex-felons Benefit Programs

Raising capital and obtaining a microloan are popular methods for felons to start a company, but they are not the only options. Depending on the individual’s support net, the felon will be able to borrow money from friends and family. Alternatively, felons may select a business that they can start with little money, such as painting or landscaping.

Conclusion

Finally, taking advantage of any educational programs available while incarcerated will help you develop skills that will help you find work or start a business. Plumbing, HVAC, and carpentry, for example, are in high demand right now. Learning these skills is a good way to get work and a route toward business ownership.

Grants for Felons FAQs

Can a felon get a grant?

Can felons get federal grants? Yes, federal grants are available to ex-felons. Note that federal grants typically target nonprofit and educational institutions, which may then use the funds to provide resources for ex-felons

Can a felon get a FHA loan?

Even Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are available to those with a felony conviction on their record. FHA loans generally approve people who do not have a perfect credit history and may be a good choice for someone whose felony occurred at least a decade ago

What limitations do felons have?

In addition to not being allowed to serve on a jury in most states, convicted felons are not allowed to apply for federal or state grants, live in public housing, or receive federal cash assistance, SSI or food stamps, among other benefits.

Does a felony show up on a credit report?

Criminal background checks will reveal felony and misdemeanor criminal convictions, any pending criminal cases, and any history of incarceration as an adult. … Disclosure of convictions more than seven years old is forbidden in California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, New York and Washington

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