LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)- Right now landlords have the option to deny a person based on any previous crime committed. It’s something a group of formerly incarcerated people are looking to change with the help of state leaders.

This comes as research shows that more than 60% of people released from prison have to live in as many as five houses the first year after being released.

“I am not a stigma that society has placed upon me,” said Jessica Henry.

Henry knows what it’s like to be denied housing. It’s happened time and time again since she got out of prison two years ago.

“Honestly I got frustrated and I wanted to get discouraged but it kind of motivated me to just take the next step,” said Henry.

She spent five years in prison for an accessory in a robbery, but today she calls herself a different person, and one who is now working to break down the barriers that have held her back and she’s got a team around her.

Together, the group ‘Nation Outside’ is fighting for what they call ‘Fair Chance Housing.’ It’s legislation that would prevent landlords from asking about most criminal histories on rental applications.

“The data says formally incarcerated people are ten times more likely than the general public to be homeless,” said Leader for Nation Outside, Tony Gant. “We know that housing insecurity has spillover effects. So I want people to understand that it’s not just the individual that we are punishing by locking them out, we’re locking out children who suffer as a result of their parent being locked out of a job and house.”

It’s a proposal that’s been approved in other cities like Detroit, but it’s something Michigan representatives are pushing for state-wide. 

“We’re all human. That should go without saying but I think we need to say it. These folks have paid their debt to society and that shouldn’t cast a shadow over them for the rest of their lives,” said state Representative Kara Hope.

While Henry continues to be denied housing she says she has a message for others who like her feel left out.

“Walk with your head held high, move forward in life and do you. Go for what you know is right within yourself,” said Henry.

The proposal is expected to go in front of a judicial committee, but if approved landlords would still be eligible to deny housing based on criminal sexual history or violent crimes.