Bipartisan Bill Aims to Protect Veterans, Low-Income Families from Housing Discrimination

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) recently introduced the Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018 to protect veterans and low-income families from housing discrimination.

Many veterans and low-income families pay their rent through vouchers, and as it stands now, landlords can discriminate against them, denying housing based on how they pay rent, according to the lawmakers. The Fair Housing Improvement Act would expand the Fair Housing Act’s protections to prohibit housing discrimination based on source of income or veteran status, giving more families access to affordable housing and a shot at economic mobility.

“As a fair housing lawyer, I witnessed the pain experienced by families who were discriminated against as they searched for a home,” Kaine said in a statement. “Housing decisions should be made on a potential tenant’s merits, not harmful prejudices that hurt the nation’s veterans and families. The Fair Housing Improvement Act will help us continue that long pursuit to protect all Americans from discrimination.”

“Helping veterans lead lives of dignity and independence has long been among my top priorities. This bill is part and parcel to that legacy. It will put an end to the immoral housing discrimination against veterans and others who rely on veterans’ benefits, Social Security disability, or other non-wage legal income. This bill will address the fact that Source of Income is not a protected class under the Federal Fair Housing Act, thereby helping to remove an unnecessary barrier facing Utah families and veterans on the path to self-reliance,” Hatch said in a statement.

Congress provides vouchers to help 2.2 million veterans and low-income households live in decent, stable private market housing.

The Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018 is supported by the American Bar Association, Housing Opportunities Made Equal Virginia, Inc., National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Law Project, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, and Virginia Poverty Law Center.