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Baltimore County Rejects Law to Curb Housing Discrimination

The decision by the Baltimore County Council allows landlords to continue using "source of income" as criteria for prospective tenants. Such practices are often used to bar residents relying on housing vouchers.
August 4, 2016, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jon Bilous

"The Baltimore County Council rejected a bill Monday that would have made it illegal for landlords to discriminate against prospective tenants who use government housing vouchers to pay their rent," reports Pamela Wood.

"The council was required to consider the bill as part of a settlement of a housing discrimination complaint negotiated between the county government and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Members voted 6-1 against it," adds Wood.

Wood details both sides of the political debate over the bill, which culminated this week after an "impassioned" public process last month. Wood shares talking points and arguments made by many of the politicians responsible for the bill's demise.  

The news of the bill's failure also made the round on websites familiar to Planetizen readers, including an article on the Washington Post's Wonkblog, by Emily Badger. Badger writes that the bill's failure continues the tradition of legalized discrimination enabled by "source of income" criteria.

"Because this kind of discrimination is broadly accepted, the federal government’s largest housing program for the poor doesn’t work like it should," writes Badger. "Families with vouchers designed for the private market find much of the private market closed to them."

Jen Kinney also summarizes the news for a post on Next City. Kinney concludes by noting that "the county is required to take up the bill again after the next county elections in 2018."

Full Story:
Published on Monday, August 1, 2016 in The Baltimore Sun
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