NY State Will Ban Housing Discrimination Based On Source of Income

As part of our Fourth Regional Plan recommendation on strengthening and enforcing fair housing laws, RPA called for banning housing discrimination in New York State based on source of income.

Discrimination based on source of income means that there are some landlords that discriminate against would-be renters who pay rent with housing vouchers (like Veterans Affairs Support Housing or HUD Section 8 vouchers), from Social Security or Disability income, or from other lawful sources of income which aren’t wages. That’s not fair, but as of now, it’s also technically legal in New York State.

RPA is proud to be part of the Statewide Source of Income coalition, a broad array of housing groups working on this issue currently led by Enterprise Community Partners and originally organized in 2016 by ERASE Racism.

And last week we got a partner in this effort – Governor Cuomo announced his support for banning discrimination based on source of income.

Not renting a home to someone with the ability to pay keeps people needlessly homeless. It’s also used as a way to de facto discriminate against seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, people with HIV/AIDS, and other people who are supposed to be protected from housing discrimination. For instance, in New York State it’s illegal to deny someone housing because they’re a veteran. But it’s completely legal to deny someone housing because they’re paying their rent with a voucher from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

New York State is overdue to join New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York City in banning housing discrimination based on source of income. With the Governor on board, now is the time to make this a reality.

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