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Kim Kardashian West to pay 5 years of rent for former inmate struggling to find a home

The reality star is putting her money behind her commitment to prison reform.
/ Source: TODAY

Kim Kardashian West's commitment to prison reform is helping a former inmate get back on his feet.

Kardashian West reportedly reached out privately to Matthew Charles, 52, to let him know she will be paying the first five years of his rent after reading that he had struggled to secure housing in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, due to his criminal record.

Former prison inmate Matthew Charles is grateful for Kim Kardashian West's gift of paying his rent for the next five years to help him get back on his feet.
Former prison inmate Matthew Charles is grateful for Kim Kardashian West's gift of paying his rent for the next five years to help him get back on his feet. AP

Charles wrote a grateful Facebook post on Sunday thanking Kardashian West.

"Kim Kardashian-West, through Tracy, said they heard about my situation. Was moved and has decided to help me. And to (help) me in an unbelievable way,'' 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."

US Weekly was the first to report the news. Charles did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment by TODAY, and Kardashian West's representatives had no comment.

Charles was released from prison for the second time in three years in January after serving 20 years of a 35-year sentence issued in 1996 for selling 216 grams of crack and illegally possessing a gun.

He was initially granted his release in 2016, but federal prosecutors fought the ruling. An appeals court ordered him back to prison in May to serve nine more years.

A Nashville Public Radio report about his return to prison sparked outrage and caught the eye of Kardashian West, who spoke with Trump about Charles' situation during their White House Meeting, according to reports.

He was released under the First Step Act, which was signed in December by President Trump after Kardashian West visited the White House in May to champion the law to ease mandatory-minimum drug sentences.

Kardashian West also lobbied to free Alice Marie Johnson, 63, who had served more than 21 years for nonviolent charges related to drug possession and money-laundering.

Charles opened up to The Tennessean last week about his application to rent a town house in Nashville being denied because he had a prison record. He has been working full time for the nonprofit advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums.

In the wake of The Tennessean article, Charles said Kardashian West reached out and made her generous offer.

His friend Tim Hardiman, a senior producer at CMT in Nashville, wrote on his private Instagram account on Monday that Charles is "overwhelmed by Kim's generous gift and of the support he has received,'' according to The Tennesseean.

Now Charles only has one last hurdle to clear.

"Now, all...I have to do is find the place," he told the newspaper.