Re-Entry Service Event

Your community needs you…

Life is full of exciting ups and unfortunate downs.  It is often difficult to determine when either will occur.  For many, the downs can devastate life to a point of virtual helplessness.  You too, may need help someday.  Help us make a difference!

Pre-Lease Questions

Several important factors need to be considered before signing a lease.  You should ask:

  • How long is the lease?
  • How much notice is required (30 or 60 days) before moving?
  • What is the penalty for moving out before the lease is up?
  • Is there a security deposit for the apartment/rental unit and what is the amount?
  • What are the property manager’s conditions for full return of the security deposit plus interest at the time of moving out?
  • Are any utilities included in the rent?
  • Is there a security deposit for the utilities?
  • What is the average monthly cost for the utilities in the apartment/rental unit?
  • Is public transportation available nearby?
  • Where are the nearest schools, shopping centers, etc.?
  • For what reasons can the property manager evict you?;  With how much notice?

Housing Assistance

Finding a place to live will be difficult for some.  For others, there will be no choice because of the Dept of Corrections’ requirements.  Some may be mandated to a halfway house or required to return to the county where the crime was committed.
If you have no restrictions on where you live, think hard before deciding to move back into your old neighborhood.  There may be people and activities there to pull you back into committing crimes.
Some will have a supportive friend, relative, or family member to live with and housing may not be a major concern, while others will need to explore different options.
When looking for housing, keep in mind where it is located relative to your work, what transportation is available, and what stores are in the area.

  • United Way 2-1-1, formerly First Call for Help, is a service that can assist you in finding temporary shelter like the ones listed below.  Resources are accessible to you through the library transition resource center, the Internet (after your release), and by dialing 211.
  • Community Action Agencies provide services to reduce the effects of poverty in the community.  Many provide energy assistance, winterization, housing, and emergency shelter services.  These agencies are also a good source of information and referral for related
    services.  For agencies: http://www.gcaaonline.org/member_agencies.htm.
  • County Social Services Agencies administer low-income financial assistance programs such as the Georgia Family Investment Program (GFIP) and General Assistance, as well as other assistance programs such as Medical Assistance, Emergency Assistance, and Food Stamps.  They may provide referrals for overnight shelter.  There are strict state and federal guidelines for the above programs so immediate monetary assistance may not be possible.
  • Drop-In Centers provide a variety of services, which may include food, clothing, and support.  The centers serve as sources of information, and daytime shelter.  Availability is limited to larger metro areas.
  • Emergency and Overnight Shelters offer lodging for a short period of time (usually one or two nights) until other arrangements can be made through the county or other programs.  You may use 2-1-1 (First Call for Help) to help locate these shelters. Metro-wide Engagement on Shelter & Housing (MESH) also offers a directory of shelters in the metro area that have immediate openings; call 1-888-234-1329 for this listing.  There is no charge for staying at most emergency shelters.  Some charity-sponsored shelters may require that you participate in their programs to use their shelter.
  • Salvation Army Units—provide shelter vouchers to individuals in need.  They may also help out with meals and other essential needs.  http://www.salvationarmy.org/arc.htm
  • Emergency & Information/Referral Phone Numbers: Governor’s Help Line : 24-hour service, live, trained counselors. Call for counseling,
    information and referrals 1-800-338-6745. Task force for the Homeless : Call 1-800-448-0636 for information.
    United Way’s First Call For Help : 24- hour service; call 211
  • Adult Rehabilitation Centers – There are over 100 centers with high success rate in getting off the streets and into clean living facilities. They offer meals, medical checkups, AA programs, job skill training, & counseling. Many include similar programs for women.  www.GeorgiaHousingSearch.org

Job Applications

Sometimes a company’s policy may require you to fill out an application before being considered for a job.  An application allows an employer to compare you to other applicants.

  • Read the directions carefully.
  • Keep it as neat as possible; re-do poorly done applications, if possible.
  • If an application is mailed to you, make a photocopy.  Fill out the copy first, and then rewrite your information on the original.
  • Provide positive information.
  • Hobbies and interests that you list could relate to what the employer is looking for or could include tasks needed on the job, requiring less training by the employer.
  • If possible, do not indicate a specific title for position desired—leave it broader.
  • Application request for “pay desired” is best left “negotiable” or “open.”
  • Do not use lazy responses such as “see résumé” or “same.”
  • Include volunteer work as it shows that you are responsible and ma o y include skills needed for the job.
  • Criminal record checks by employers are common.  The employer may even ask you to sign a release form to allow them to look beyond what is just public record.

Resume Tips

A good résumé is an important job search tool and “sells” your employment skills to a prospective employer.
Tips for an Effective Résumé

  • 1. Try to Use a Computer – There are computer programs that make it much easier to prepare your résumé.  Your local library, work force center, or “quick print” shop can help. Practice on the computer in the library.
  • 2. Be Specific – Don’t waste valuable space with overused, general statements.  An example of a general or “flowery” statement is:  “A challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement.”  Be direct and to the point in identifying your accomplishments.
  • 3. One or Two Pages – If your career justifies a two-page résumé, go ahead and create a document that explains the full range of your experiences and accomplishments.  On the other hand, don’t ramble on about unrelated experiences.  Ask yourself, “Will this statement help me land an interview?”  Every word should sell you.
  • 4. Avoid Use of Personal Pronouns – There should be no mention of “I” or  “me” and only limited use of articles such as, “a,” “an,” and “the.”  Also, do not use abbreviations.
  • 5. List Only Necessary Information – Do not include your interests unless they are related to the job.  For example, if applying for a position as a ski instructor, list cross-country skiing as a hobby.  Personal information such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight, and salary or wages should not be on the résumé.
  • 6. Center or Align Headings – All headings should be easy to locate and consistent in layout.
  • 7. Avoid Making Excuses – Don’t include the reasons you are no longer working at each job listed on your résumé.  The phrases, “company sold,” “boss was an idiot,” and “left to make more money” have no place on your résumé.  Be positive.
  • 8. Check for Typos – Check for typos, grammatical errors, and coffee stains.  Use the spell check feature on the computer and ask one or two friends to review the résumé to find mistakes you might have missed.
  • 9. Use Quality Copy Paper – Don’t try to save money by printing your résumé on cheap copy paper instead of good quality stock.  A résumé should be printed on paper with a high percentage of cotton fiber; it should also be mailed in an envelope with a high percentage of cotton fiber.  You can find résumé paper and envelopes at any store that sells office supplies.   Inspect copies for smudges and marks before distributing.

Job Search Tips

Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of all positions in the workforce are filled by “hidden” job-seeking methods.  Below are descriptions of both “traditional” and “hidden” job-seeking methods.
Job-Seeking Methods

  • Help-Wanted Ads in the Newspaper — only 15 percent of all jobs available are listed in the help wanted ads, and competition is fierce because almost everyone reads them.
  • Sending out Résumés — almost all job search books recommend it, but doing that alone as a job search method does not work very well.
  • Private Employment Agencies — charge fees for finding you a job.  The fees range from 10 to 15 percent of your annual income.
  • Georgia Department of Labor, TOPPSTEP — provides assistance to rehabilitated offenders in obtaining and maintaining employment, through one-on-one job counseling and a series of specially designed workshops that will assist in résumé writing, interviewing skills, job search and networking techniques. When going to the Labor office, make sure to ask for the TOPPSTEP representative..
  • Local Government Workforce Centers (WIA) — post job openings and will post your résumé for potential employers.  They also provide assistance in résumé writing.  Workforce centers have a number of useful publications to help you choose a career.
  • Job Clubs — various community agencies and local churches host job club meetings in their facilities.  The meetings provide job leads, job search tips, and support.
  • Warm Contact — let it be known to others that you are seeking employment.  Let friends, relatives, neighbors, former employers, former co-workers, church members, etc., know that you are looking for a job.
  • Cold Contact—means going directly to possible employers.  This requires a lot of time and traveling around town.  Cold contacts may not be easy for most, but remember the worst that can happen is that they will say no.
  • Public Library—is a great resource for job seekers.  It has directories for local, state, and national organizations, businesses, and  corporations.  Most libraries also have out-of-town newspapers and phone directories for assistance as well.
  • School Placement Offices—at private, trade, technical, and vocational schools.  Some prospective employers notify these schools of openings, and schools may reserve these prospects for their own students.
  • Trade Magazines and Journals—often list jobs available in their field.  Review only current issues.
  • Accept an Entry-Level Position—to get your foot in the door and then volunteer to help with more responsible positions within the business.
  • Temporary Help Agencies—are a fast source of income and supply you with helpful experience, even though the pay may be lower and fewer benefits offered.  Many times the temporary job can turn into a full-time position.
  • Volunteer Work—shows employers a positive work ethic and may serve as a foot in the door to a potential employer.  It is also an excellent opportunity to network.  If you are volunteering for an organization, ask your volunteer coordinator to be a job reference for you.
  • Internet—allows you to browse at your convenience at home and most public libraries.  You can find many different websites containing possible employment opportunities.  Be sure you have no special release conditions prohibiting your use of the Internet.
  • Job Card—example of a pocket-sized card to leave with an employer.  These are especially handy for “drop in” or cold contacts for employment.

Tenant Rules

You have the following Responsibilities as a tenant:

  • Your property manager can require references from you.
  • You must pay for damages beyond normal wear and tear to your apartment.
  • You must pay rent on time.
  • You must follow all legal clauses in your lease.
  • You must not disturb other tenants.
  • You must give proper written notice when you want to move out.

As a tenant in Georgia, you have the following Rights:

  • Your property manager must follow your lease.
  • Your property manager must keep your apartment free from health and safety hazards. x Your property manager must keep your apartment in good repair.
  • Structures, fixtures, plumbing, and furnished equipment must be kept working
  • You have the right to call health /safety inspectors to inspect your apartment.
  • Your building must be insulated and weatherized.
  • You have the right to peaceful and undisturbed possession of your apartment.
  • You have the right to privacy.
  • Your property manager cannot enter without your permission without giving you notice unless the lease says he/she can or in the event of an emergency.
  • Your property manager must give you his/her name and address.
  • Your property manager may not end or change the lease without giving you written notice.
  • Your property manager cannot evict or retaliate against you for exercising your rights.
  • Your property manager cannot shut off utilities or lock you out of your apartment.
  • You property manager cannot force you to leave your apartment without going to court.
  • Your property manager cannot hold your personal belongings for non-payment of rent.
  • Your property manager must provide certificates of rent paid so you can claim a tax credit.
  • You are entitled to the return of your security deposit, with interest, within three weeks after you move. Be sure to give your property manager a forwarding address. However, your property manager may retain any amount of the security deposit that is within reason to pay for unpaid rent if the property manager gives you a written explanation within three weeks. Your property manager cannot charge you for normal wear and tear to the apartment.

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