1. Describe your housing needs:
- Where do you want to live? (location or area)
- Do you want to live alone or with others?
- Will children be living with you? (full-time, part-time?)
- How much can you afford for rent each month?
- Do you need subsidized housing?
- Do you need parking or access to public transportation?
- Do you need to be on the first floor or to have wheelchair access?
- Are you allergic to animals?
- Do you want to share food?
- Do you want a quiet environment?
- Do you have a short-term and long-term plan? (For instance, do you want to plan to own a home in the future?)
- How do you want to speak about your lack of a current address to landlords/ property managers?
2. Check your own credit history. Maintaining good credit is important, particularly when the time comes to rent your own apartment or purchase a home. Landlords and mortgage lenders use your credit history to determine whether you will be a reliable tenant or to determine what interest rate you would receive for a mortgage for your home. Monitoring your credit report is also important in these times where identity theft is common. You may order your credit report online free once a year from www.freecreditreport.com, which will give you the reports from the big three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
3. Check your CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information).
- If there is a possibility that you have a criminal record—e.g., you have been arrested before, been summoned to court or spent time in jail, a house of corrections, or prison—and you do not have a recent copy of your CORI, ask staff to help you obtain a copy of your CORI.
- Know what is on your CORI; make sure it is accurate, make corrections, and prepare a case for why you should receive consideration in spite of the CORI.
4. Provide reliable contact information.
- Offer a good phone number that has an answering machine or voice mail. Provide an E-mail address if you have one.
- Give a work number if you have one.
Source: Rebecca Muller, Grantworks