WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) – Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski recently introduced the Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) Act, Bill 49-19. The HOME Act will stop housing discrimination based on the source of a person’s income, including housing vouchers, just as renters can’t be discriminated against based on their race, sex, religion, or for other discriminatory reasons. Anne Arundel County passed similar legislation last month, joining Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery Counties, and the cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, and Frederick.
Unfortunately, the landlord lobby, the Maryland Multi-Housing Association, wants to place a “cap” on certain types of people with certain incomes in apartment complexes. When this cap amendment was introduced in Baltimore City, advocates including the NAACP, spoke out in opposition: “There is nothing value neutral about discrimination of any kind, in any amount, anywhere.”
This is a civil rights issue. We should already have these protections, so let’s raise our voices to ensure it gets done now!
A County Council hearing is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 2:00 pm, and the Council could vote as soon as November 4. We need your help:
1. Look up your County Council member here. Call AND send them an email asking them to vote for the HOME Act and reject any “cap” amendment: Remember to provide your address!
Here is a sample email: “Dear Baltimore County Council Member: I urge you to support Bill No. 49-19, the HOME Act, because all discrimination is wrong! Baltimore County must pass the HOME Act to protect residents from housing discrimination based on stereotypes and stigma, whether because of the source of an individual or family’s income, including housing vouchers, or based on their race, sex, religion, or for other discriminatory reasons. The HOME Act will give residents more choice in where to live. Across Maryland, nearly 70 percent of Housing Choice Voucher recipients are seniors, military veterans, people with disabilities, and working families with children. Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery Counties have already passed similar protections, along with Annapolis, Baltimore City, and Frederick City. Residents of Baltimore County deserve the same protections. I urge you to reject any “cap” amendment. There is no right amount of discrimination that is acceptable.” – [YOUR NAME & ADDRESS]
2. Attend the Hearing on Tuesday, October 29, at 2:00 pm and wear blue. We want to pack the hearing room! Location: Historic Courthouse, 400 Washington Avenue, 2nd Floor, Towson, Maryland 21204.
Check out baltimorecountyfairhousing.com for more information about the HOME Act and the supporting coalition. And read about the experience of Jill Williams and other U.S. veterans who have been impacted by homelessness and source of income discrimination in this op-ed.