- Kim Kardashian has become an unexpected supporter in the fight for prison reform and is helping former inmates tackle negative stigmas they may face after they're released from jail.
- When she found out that Matthew Charles, a former inmate who spent 21 years in prison, was denied an apartment due to his prior record, Kardashian stepped up to pay five years worth of rent and act as Charles' personal reference.
- Even with Kardashian's financial support, Charles was still denied the opportunity to rent, so she utilized her massive Twitter following to help him find a housing opportunity.
- Charles announced on his Facebook profile that he finally rented an apartment and thanked his supporters, especially Kardashian and husband Kanye West. He noted that the single key in his Facebook status is the key to his new home.
In his Facebook status, Charles wrote a lovely note and thanked his supporters–Kardashian, Kanye West, and The Tennessean newspaper, which reported his housing struggle–"for their help, searches, and encouragement in overcoming this nonsensical barrier.”
Charles shouted out Kardashian's benevolence and financial support, noting that he is thankful that she is "standing with me now since being release, against societal obstacles to reentry that added insult to my injury/injustice."
He added that "#All Voices Matter" and shared a photo of the keys of his new home.
The Tennessean reported that Charles is “starting over from scratch” with his two-bedroom Nashville home that is currently unfurnished and smells of fresh paint. "I'm spending time today unpacking items and building a few things with my buddy," he told the paper. "I couldn't have done it without so many peoples' help," he added.
Read Matthew Charles' full Facebook status below.
"More wonderful news, my Friday now shines brighter since I now have housing. 💕I would like to thank Kim Kardashian-West, Kanye, Tracy, Altaira, Naomi, Tim, the Tennessean Newspaper, Crystal, Kary, Gabrahm, Tiffany, Holly, Mark, Rocky, Topeka, Kevin, Shon, Wendy, and so so many others and news media's 💕for their help, searches, and encouragement in overcoming this nonsensical barrier.💫 I am glad that Kim has stood with me since her hearing of my inhumane reincarceration situation back when I was ordered to return to prison ( after serving over 21years, and being free for nearly two years as a very productive member of society, ) to "serve the remaining ten years of a sentence based on ... for a non-violent drug offense, and for Kim standing with me now since being release, against societal obstacles to reentry that added insult to my injury/injustice.
For everyone that heard of my situation and cried out for change in the way society view second chances, or giving someone another chance, or for restorative justice, thank you greatly. **Because #All Voices Matter**.
Oh!!! By the way, these are the KEYS to my new place 🎅,, feels like 22yrs of missed Christmases for me, even though it's Spring."
Original story, 3/18:
Kim Kardashian, a vocal advocate for prison reform, wanted to use her celebrity status for good and offered to pay five years' worth of rent for Matthew Charles, a former inmate. However, on Friday afternoon (March 15), she revealed on Twitter that Charles was denied an apartment rental, despite her offer of long-term financial support.
"Matthew Charles’s lease application was rejected again bc of his criminal record (even w me paying his rent in advance)," Kardashian tweeted. "If there are any landlords w a 2 bedroom in Nashville willing to give Mr Charles a 2nd chance, contact [email protected] Serious inquiries only, thank you 🙏🏼."
According to CNN, Charles served 21 years in prison for drug-related charges and in January, he was released because of the bipartisan First Step Act. The criminal justice legislation "reformed sentencing laws that have wrongly and disproportionately harmed the African American community," President Trump said on his State of the Union address, according to The Atlantic.
"The First Step Act gives nonviolent offenders the chance to reenter society as productive, law-abiding citizens," the president aded. "Now states across the country are following our lead. America is a nation that believes in redemption."
When Kardashian learned about the difficulty Charles faced with renting a home through his interview with The Tennessean, she knew she wanted to help him out. Kardashian reached out to Charles and volunteered to pay five years of rent and act as a reference to property owners. However, even with the star's clout and monetary support, Charles was still denied the ability to rent an apartment.
Charles explained to Inside Edition that he was "rehabilitated" and out of jail for two-and-a-half years. Within that timeframe, he worked, volunteered, and went to church. "I was doing everything that you would want somebody that has been incarcerated and released to do," he said.
He added that Kardashian's "star quality and star power" allowed "people to listen" to his case. "I was just even more grateful. Because that's what it actually takes. Even though there is a legitimate situation, sometimes it takes somebody that has a little ranking,” he continued. "So to me that is amazing and I am beyond grateful that she did speak on my behalf and Alice [Marie Johnson]'s behalf and have been making changes.”
Alice Marie Johnson is a great-grandmother who was previously incarcerated with a lifetime sentence for a first-time non-violent drug offense. Kardashian advocated for her release in 2018 and her sentence was ultimately commuted by President Trump last June. After helping Johnson, Kim worked to free another convicted felon, Chris Young, in September.
Early last week, Charles shared how thankful he is to Kardashian in a public Facebook status. He wrote:
"Kim did not do this for attention or publicity, but I had to share it, because it's to good not to, and my heart is about to burst with happiness, that I wish you to rejoice in this news with me. And many of your responses about the outcome of my dilemma prophesied it. GOD IS GOOD!!!. WHAT THE DEVIL MEANT FOR BAD, GOD REVERSED AGAIN, FOR MY GOOD. THANK YOU KIM KARDISHIAN-WEST and TRACY FOR THE LOVE SHOWN TO ME WHEN I WAS LOCKED UP. AND NOW THAT I'M FREE.. MY HEART IS ENLARGED."
Kardashian's commitment to pay his rent "allows a worry and a burden both to be lifted. At the same time, it allows me an opportunity, an advancement to help others," Charles added. He hopes to one day use his savings to purchase his own home or start a business to help those struggling with poverty.