2018.02 Ban Source-of-Income Discrimination in Rental Housing


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2018.02 Ban Source-of-Income Discrimination in Rental Housing

Whereas housing instability and homelessness continue to grow in our immediate communities and across Washington State as a whole; and

Whereas, for example, rental costs for 2- and 3-bedroom apartments in Snohomish County increased by 26.2% and 23.8% respectively, between 2011-15, thereby increasing an already serious need for supplementary sources of funds to pay for rent; and

Whereas there exists an array of governmental and private programs that provide verifiable funds usable toward paying tenants’ housing costs, among them being “Section 8” and other HUD housing vouchers, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income, unemployment compensation, veteran’s benefits, and child-support payments; and

Whereas many individuals and families that are entitled to and do receive such financial assistance are nevertheless denied rental housing because of landlords’ groundless disfavor of reliance on those sources of income; and

Whereas communities of color, people with disabilities, and other populations long subjected to discrimination have been and are disproportionately impacted by such denials of housing opportunities; and

Whereas 10% of the housing-discrimination cases investigated by the Seattle Office of Civil Rights in the last eight years have involved denials based on would-be tenants’ use of Section 8 housing vouchers; and

Whereas 1,066 Snohomish County residents were experiencing homelessness in the January 2017 Point-in-Time Count, and thousands more – including many elderly, disabled, or low-income people of color – face rental restrictions and discrimination due to their use of programs that help offset their rent payments; and

Whereas a growing number of cities across the state have enacted protections against source-of-income discrimination in rental housing; and

Whereas our State Legislature has authority to enact legislation to promote fairness and equity in rental housing throughout the State, including prohibition of discrimination against renters who use alternative sources of income to pay for housing; and

Whereas assuring fair housing opportunities for all will be an important step in carrying out our longstanding commitment to promoting racial equity and social justice;

Therefore, be it resolved that we support enactment of protections to ensure fair treatment in the rental housing market, specifically including legislation prohibiting discrimination based on the source(s) of the funds from which rental payments are made; and

Be it further resolved that we urge our State Senator and State Representatives to work with their legislative colleagues toward enactment of legislation to prohibit housing discrimination based on source of income, and that said Senator and Representatives be promptly queried as to their actions and intended actions in furtherance of the above.

Adopted _______________________  by ________________________

Originated by Michele Thomas, michele@wliha.org

Edited by Dean Fournier, demdean48@gmail.com