#ThePowerOfOne

MCAH would like to thank our fellow advocates who signed our “Source of Income” letter and supported our efforts!

 

Press Release

Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness (MCAH), a nonprofit membership and advocacy organization, is pleased to announce the passage of Source of Income legislation in the Senate and House.  The legislation for Source of Income protections* (SB 205, 206, 207) was sponsored by Senators Jeff Irwin, Rosemary Bayer and Mary Cavanaugh in the Senate and in the House (HB 4062, 4063) sponsored by Reps. Jason Morgan and Jennifer Conlin.  

The bills will 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 organizations and nonprofits across the state that have worked for passage of the Source of Income legislation and other tenant protections.

Lisa Chapman, Director of Public Policy for MCAH said, “We are extremely grateful to our legislative champions for sponsoring this important protection for renters and extend our deep appreciation to the superb work of our housing advocates and colleagues on these bills. When enacted, this legislation will expand housing opportunities for the many families and individuals that receive income support.  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. 

Source of Income was not protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act or the MI Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.  Outside of the 16 Michigan cities with Source of Income laws, landlords around the state could still refuse applicants based solely on their source of income, however this legislation will change that. 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 seek to change that and require any legal source of income to be accepted by a landlord.)

“This legislation will have a tremendous impact on rental households who have historically been adversely impacted by discrimination based on the source of their income,” stated Eric Hufnagel, MCAH’s CEO. “We need to continue breaking down barriers to housing access,” he furthered, “and championing the right to safe, affordable and accessible housing for all Michiganders.”

Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

Margaret Mead