After nearly 2 decades of attempts to end income-based housing discrimination, a bill that would prohibit landlords and sellers from refusing to rent or sell a home to someone based on their source of income, moved one step closer to passing in the 2020 session.
The bill, SB 530, passed in the Senate on Feb. 18 and is now headed to the House of Delegates for consideration.
The Maryland Catholic Conference has supported SB 530 — known as the HOME Act (Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act) — for the last several years. The Conference joined again this session with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and others in support of the bill.
At is core, the HOME Act is an effort to de-concentrate poverty by providing additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in neighborhoods other than the neighborhoods in which those individuals are currently and disproportionately residing.
"Our church supports this bill because it seeks to ensure that everyone, regardless of their source of income, is able to provide a home for themselves or their family," said Anne Wallerstedt, associate director of Social and Economic Justice for the Conference. "Often, even though an individual or a family may have been able to secure housing assistance through a federal or state program, those individuals struggle to find a place to live where a landlord or seller accepts that assistance — whether that assistance comes from cash assistance, child support, alimony, or a housing voucher. Individuals and families having the lawful means to rent or buy a home should not be denied that housing based on their source of income."
The HOME Act was first introduced in the General Assembly in 2002 by Sen. Delores Kelley, who represents District 10. In 2019, several local jurisdictions in Maryland, including Baltimore City, adopted similar laws to prohibit housing discrimination based on the source of a person's income.
To learn more about the HOME Act, CLICK HERE.