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Policy Library

Protect Families from Homelessness by Ending Discrimination Based on “Source of Income”

Unstable housing can have lifelong consequences. Stable housing has monumental impacts on a child’s long-term educational success and health. State and federal programs already exist to help families afford decent housing, but some landlords refuse to rent to those families, driving them into shelters and other programs that have high costs for the state, and kids’ futures. The End Income Discrimination in Housing Act protects families from this discrimination.

The National Landscape

Passed in:

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, D.C.

Introduced in:

Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina

In The News

“In 2016, about 40 percent of participants in LA were unable to find a place before their vouchers expired. Now, that's up to 47 percent, according to the city's Housing Authority. In a voucher program for homeless veterans, even fewer renters have been able to secure housing.”
“Stakeholder survey results identified housing choice vouchers as the top housing service or benefit that is effective but too scarce. However, according to pilot work with housing choice vouchers and helping low-income families move to areas of opportunity, the Task Force learned that discrimination plays a role in where renters can live.”

Partners

  • Housing advocates
  • Local governments
  • Community development advocates

Opposition

  • Landlords that don’t want to rent to certain people
Call us for real-time support using this library, problem-solving tips, and follow-up from our team of national experts:
The State Line
1-833-
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FAQ

Who does this help?
Everyone looking for housing who is part of certain state and federal housing programs, like the federal Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program and similar state programs. Children particularly benefit from secure housing, as frequent moves and homelessness can lead to reduced academic outcomes.
Is this high-cost to the state?
No. Families and individuals who find permanent housing with vouchers reduce costs to the state for shelters and related services. If a young child moves using subsidized housing vouchers, in some circumstances it can increase the child’s total lifetime earnings by over $300,000.
Is this a burden to landlords?
No. Landlords would still be due the full rent every month for the apartment they rent.
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Model Policy

SECTION 1 (TITLE):
This act shall be known as the End Income Discrimination in Housing Act.

SECTION 2 (PURPOSE):
To help families afford decent housing by ending source of income discrimination

SECTION 3 (PROVISIONS):

(a) A landlord may not, based on the source of income of an otherwise eligible prospective tenant or current tenant:
  • (i) Refuse to lease, rent or sell and real property to a prospective tenant or current tenant;
  • (ii) Expel a prospective tenant or current tenant from any real property;
  • (iii) Make any distinction, discrimination, or restriction against a prospective tenant or current tenant in the price, terms, conditions, fees, or privileges relating to the rental, lease, or occupancy of real property or in the furnishing of any facilities or services in connection with the rental, lease, or occupancy of real property;
  • (iv) Attempt to discourage the rental or lease of any real property to a prospective tenant or current tenant;
  • (v) Represent to any person that any real property is not available for inspection, sale or rental when such real property is in fact so available;
  • (vi) Coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of the person having exercised or enjoyed or having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected under this section;
  • (vii) Assist, induce, incite, or coerce another person to commit an act or engage in a practice that violates this section;
  • (viii) Otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling unit to a prospective tenant or current tenant that, but for his or her source of income, would be eligible to rent real property.

(b) A landlord may not make, print or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination because of reliance on rental payments derived from any government or private assistance, grant, loan program, or income derived from any lawful profession or occupation.

(c) If a landlord requires that a prospective tenant or current tenant have a certain threshold level of income, any source of income in the form of a rent voucher or subsidy must be subtracted from the total of the monthly rent prior to calculating if the income criteria have been met.

(d) Any violation of this section is an unlawful practice, enforceable by DEPARTMENT in the same manner as existing STATE housing discrimination laws.

(e) "Source of income" includes benefits or subsidy programs including, but not limited to, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Assistance, housing assistance, public assistance, emergency rental assistance, veterans benefits, social security, supplemental security income or other retirement programs, and other programs administered by any federal, state, local, private or nonprofit entity.