Source of Income Discrimination Campaign Kicked off with a Community Housing Forum on Dec. 19
On December 19th, residents in search of housing gathered from neighborhoods scattered across Brooklyn at New Hope Family Worship Center in East New York. A majority of the attendees had obtained a housing voucher to help pay for rent, a perpetually increasing burden on most city residents. However, as many voucher holders in the city have come to realize, being in possession of a voucher by no means guarantees housing. Landlords almost universally refuse to accept many of the city, state and federally funded vouchers, even when New York City’s Human Rights Commission law requires them to do so.
This sort of discrimination, referred to as source of income discrimination (SID), has become a systemic problem in the New York City housing market. Landlords and brokers, either ignorant of the law or willing to ignore it because of the lack of consequences enforced by the city, blatantly turn people away when they reveal they plan to pay rent with a LINC, SEPS, FEPS, CityFEPS, or Section 8 voucher, among others.
The meeting on December 19th, hosted by Partnership for the Homeless, Neighbors Together and VOCAL-NY, informed residents about the scope of the problem, the laws in place in New York City, and their rights as voucher holders. It also introduced a new website that victims of SID are encouraged to use and share with family and friends: www.stopsidnyc.com. In addition to listing important information to help recognize, understand, and combat SID, the website links to a reporting form that voucher holders should use when they have been discriminated against. The reports will be used to take action against landlords who are repeat offenders, and put pressure on the city to create better mechanisms to enforce the law. The more reports there are, the stronger our fight will be. If you want to read more about the Community Housing Forum, check out Partnership for the Homeless’ blog post here.