The battle isn’t over.
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Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH) is pleased to announce the passage of Source of Income legislation in the Senate yesterday.
The legislation for Source of Income protections* bills (SB 205, 206, 207) was sponsored by Senators Jeff Irwin, Rosemary Bayer and Mary Cavanaugh and passed by a partyline vote Oct. 11, 2023.
The bills would make it illegal for a landlord, property manager or other entity to discriminate against anyone based on their legal income source, including those with a housing voucher (former Section 8 program), retirement/pensions, veteran benefits, alimony, child support or government assistance program. Programs such as these are crucial to enable Michiganders to access housing that they can afford in the community of their choice.
MCAH is part of the Coalition for Expanding Housing Access, a group of 120 housing advocates, legal aid and nonprofits across the state that are working for passage of the Source of Income legislation and other tenant protections.
Lisa Chapman, Director of Public Policy for MCAH said, “We extend our deep appreciation to the Senators for their sponsorship of the bills, and superb work with housing advocates and landlord entities on these bills. When passed, this legislation will open up more housing opportunities for the many families and individuals that receive income supports. Vouchers and other forms of rental assistance and income support can be a lifeline for Michiganders who are struggling to get back on their feet. Our coalition looks forward to working with House members to pass this legislation in short order and make it law.”
Source of Income is not currently protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act or the MI Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Outside of the 10 MI cities with Source of Income laws, landlords around the state can still refuse applicants based solely on their source of income. All MI residents should have equal access to housing opportunities.
*Source of Income means that a potential renter’s ability to pay rent is evaluated by the prospective Landlord according to the income source. Some landlords refuse to accept sources that do not come from earned income such as employment. Under current MI law, there is no clear prohibition against a landlord refusing to accept Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), veterans’ benefits, alimony, MDHHS cash assistance, SSI/SSDI as part of a person’s legal total combined income. Source of Income protections seeks to change that and require any legal source of income to be accepted by a landlord.