Kim Kardashian West isn’t just interested in prison reform, but in improving the lives of those affected by incarceration.
Following the implementation of the recent First Step act, Matthew Charles was released from prison after serving 20 years of his 35-year sentence after being convicted on non-violent drug charges.Ã‚Â
However, Charles — like many former inmates — has had trouble finding a place to live, and was recently denied housing. Kardashian West, in an effort to help, has promised to pay Charles’ rent for the next five years.
Tim Hardiman, a friend to Charles, tells ET that Kardashian West first became aware of CharlesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ situation last May when she saw NPRÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story on his return to prison.
Hardiman explains that when Kardashian West met with President Donald Trump in May 2018, to discuss clemency for Alice Johnson, she also mentioned Charles in the conversation. When she returned to the White House last September to further discuss criminal justice reform, she again brought up Charles’ situation. Charles was later present at Trump’s State of the Union address in February.
According to Hardiman, last Tuesday, Charles applied for residency at an apartment complex in Nashville. On Thursday, his application was denied because of his felony record and poor credit score. Ã‚Â Because he was incarcerated for 22 years, Charles was never been able to establish a credit rating. His situation is not unique, as many reformed offenders have difficulty finding affordable housing because of those policies.
Charles notified Hardiman that his application was rejected. That night, Hardiman posted the rejection letter on his Instagram account underneath a picture of Charles posing with President Trump as a way of voicing his frustration and additionally seeking help from any friends who may have a rental property.Ã‚Â
A reporter from The Tennessean, Natalie Neysa Alund, saw the post and contacted Hardiman and Charles about running a story. Kardashian West subsequently saw the story and her team reached out to Hardiman yesterday offering to help.Ã‚Â
Kardashian West generously offered to pay five years of Charles’s rent and contact any property owners as a reference if needed. Ã‚Â
Hardiman adds, Ã¢â‚¬Å“When I told Charles about Kim’s generous gift he was overwhelmed! Ã‚Â He was truly humbled that Kim was willing to lift that burden from him. Charles told me Kim’s generosity will allow him to save enough money to eventually put a down payment on his first house. Kim has changed his life!”
Kardashian WestÃ‚Â has yet to comment on her generous offer. However, Charles shared the news on Facebook in a heartfelt message of appreciation.
“I just received the most wonderful news tonight that I just had to share with everyone. Kim Kardashian West… heard about my situation. Was moved and has decided to help me,” Charles 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.”
For more on Kardashian West’s exhaustive activism efforts campaigning for prison reform, check out the video below.
Reporting by Kelly Agnes.