Housing program announced for citizens returning from prison

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson announced a new housing program on the three-year anniversary of the Let’s Walk Protest.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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GENESEE CO., Mich. (WNEM) - Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson announced a new housing program on the three-year anniversary of the Let’s Walk Protest.

Tuesday, May 30 marked three years since the Let’s Walk Protest at a Flint Township Target parking lot where Swanson decided to walk alongside protesters during a protest for George Floyd and promised to unify the community.

During that anniversary, Swanson and community leaders announced their partnership with Nation Outside to help citizens who are returning from the prison system.

“This is going to benefit everybody. Because I’m going to tell you wherever you are right now, if people don’t break the laws everybody wins. When people don’t become addicted everybody wins. And that’s what we’re doing right now, going back to the basic needs of housing,” Swanson said.

Swanson made that promise three years ago to the day in 2020. In partnership with Nation Outside, he announced the first of its kind: the Rent Guaranteed Housing pilot program for returning citizens.

“We wanted to know what landlords want right. What will make them confident that these people who we will turnover to them are the right people to live on their property. And so, once we got that answer, the rest was easy,” said Johnell Allen-Bey, the Flint regional coordinator for Nation Outside.

Allen-Bey found that landlords cared about two primary things: consistent on-time rent payments and the upkeep of their property.

The pilot program will help 10 formerly incarcerated individuals find housing, pay rent for a year, and receive tenant training.

Local landlords who were in attendance said they support and welcome this program.

“The vetting process, I’ve looked at it and its very strong. It’s actually stronger than most vetting processes that people would normally go through,” said local landlord Reggie Davidson.

Another local landlord, Lakeisha Tureaud, said the community should get behind the program.

“We definitely want to get behind this program and support programs that are not only monitoring returning citizens, but giving them the treatment they need to live productively in society,” she said.

The first recipient was Darrin Arbor of Flint who was in prison for 25 years before his release in 2015.

“It’s been a long road; it’s been a long road, it has,” Arbor said “But this will help me and a lot of people. And I applaud them for doing this, they need something like this, especially in this city.”

The Rent Guaranteed Housing pilot program is entirely funded by donations.

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