Trying to get back on your feet after being released from prison is not an easy task. Many ex-felons tend to dread stepping into the real world and dealing with whatever lies in wait for them.
There are quite a few hardships that an ex-felon has to face. The primary issue is with regard to employment. It is not easy for an ex-felon to acquire a job since many companies tend to be reluctant in hiring someone with a criminal record.
Without any employment, you do not have any means to fulfill the necessities or take measures to bring your life back on track. However, there are grants and loans that can provide you with the assistance you need.
Grants and Loans
Let us now take a look at various loans and grants that an ex-offender could seek so that you would have the means required to build a new life from scratch.
1. Government Grants
These refer to the grants set up by the government for the benefit of ex-felons so that they are not tempted to step into the world of crime again and can get the time required to plant their feet firmly on the ground.
- In 2012, US Department of Labor made an announcement, according to which it made $20.5 million in grant funding available for assistance of those ex-cons looking for employment.
- As per section 171 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, funding can be provided for things like mentoring, basic skills training, and job training among others.
The Internet can prove to be a great deal of help if you want to acquire more information regarding government grants. This would work in your favor as this will make certain that you do not end up missing out on any detail.
2. Grants for Starting a Business
- The Houston-based Prison Entrepreneurship Program endeavors to ensure that an ex-prisoner does not have to give up on his business idea owing to lack of funds. Thus, apart from financial assistance, mentoring and training opportunities are provided as well.
- SCORE is a platform you can use to acquire information that would enable you to commence your business successfully.
3. Angel Investors or Informal Investor
Felons also have the option of convincing the business investors to give them a chance. They can then use this chance to start and run a business successfully. Finding an angel investor is not going to be an easy feat for an ex-felon. However, you might find someone if you manage to entice them with your idea.
- You can also acquire assistance from the Small Business Association to acquire a small loan that would allow you to start up a small business.
- Another act introduced for the benefit of ex-felon is the Second Chance Act. With this act, assistance is provided to the ex-felons so that they do not end up behind bars again. This is done via career advice and mentoring. Different programs are present in places, and thus Bureau of Justice Assistance needs to be checked to acquire more information.
The first thing that you need to do is be clear about the application process. It is important that you understand the whole process. In the case of any confusion, do not hesitate to approach an organization for assistance.
You should then get your paperwork ready. All the important papers need to be in place including identification papers, and proof of address among other things so that your loan process does not suffer a glitch owing to lack of records.
Before applying for the loan, make sure that you have a clear plan. You need to be able to convince the people that your business idea is worth investment. Thus, get your business plan ready at the earliest if you want to get the loan. Proof of tax returns would also be required.
4. College or Educational Grants (Pell Grants…)
Some people might have a hard time getting small business loans and grants for felons. Thus, for them, it would work better to contemplate upon continuing with their education via an educational grant.
With the help of this grant, they can acquire training in the field they are interested, which would then improve their chances of being granted a business loan.
Quite a few ex-felons tend to opt for self-employment. This is because they do not have to worry about employers viewing them with suspicion in this case. It is the Federal Pell Grants which prove to be the most convenient and easy grant to avail for education.
However, the only thing that could spoil your chances is that you are a drug addict.
It is often said that education never goes waste and if you want to make sure that you kick-start your new life with zeal, it is education that can make a world of difference.
While there’s no denying that landing a job could be quite difficult for an ex-felon, grants are something that can make things a whole lot easier.
Getting the grant might seem a bit troublesome at times. However, if you are serious about starting your life fresh, you will brave through it all seamlessly. In the end, it will all prove to be worth it.