Women’s Law Center of Maryland Action Alert Human Relations - Housing Discrimination - Source of Income

Women’s Law Center of Maryland

Action Alert

Human Relations - Housing Discrimination - Source of Income

SUPPORT HB 168 and SB 277

February 16, 2011 The House Environmental Matters Committee and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee recently heard testimony on House Bill 168 - Human Relations - Housing Discrimination - Source of Income and the companion Senate Bill 277. These bills amend Maryland's Fair Housing law to prohibit discrimination by landlords and other property owners based on the source of the income the prospective renter will be using to pay for the housing. Adequate housing is critical to the health and safety of women and children. The Women's Law Center of Maryland supports House Bill 168 and Senate Bill 277 because they help ensure that women have equal access to housing options without discrimination based on the sources of the funds often used by women to pay for housing.

Included in the definition of source of income is lawful income from a profession or occupation, government assistance or rental assistance program (Section 8 voucher), alimony or child support. Denial of rental housing to an otherwise qualified person simply because they plan to pay the rent with one of these lawful sources of income is unfair and unjustifiable. Women often rely on these sources of income; therefore they are disproportionately affected by this discrimination.

In addition, discrimination based on source of income should be prohibited because it results in concentrations of poverty which have been shown to have a negative health impact on the well-being of women and families. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that women who moved to areas of lower concentration of poverty reduced their risk of diabetes and obesity. Other studies have shown that living in areas with economic advantages have a positive impact on educational and health outcomes.

In Maryland, Howard, Montgomery and Frederick Counties and the cities of Frederick and Annapolis currently have laws that prohibit discrimination in housing based on source of income. Eleven other states have similar laws. Maryland should join these other jurisdictions to support greater housing and economic opportunity for low-income renters.

House Bill 168 and Senate Bill 277 ensure fairness and housing opportunities for low-income and female headed households. Therefore, the Women's Law Center strongly urges favorable reports on these bills.

Contact members of the House Environmental Matters Committee and urge them to vote for House Bill 168. Contact the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and urge them to vote for Senate Bill 277.

Here are the email addresses for Committee members. Cut and paste into your email: Maggie.McIntosh@house.state.md.us; James.Malone@house.state.md.us; Pamela.Beidle@house.state.md.us; Elizabeth.Bobo@house.state.md.us; Rudolph.Cane@house.state.md.us; Alfred.Carr@house.state.md.us; Barbara.Frush@house.state.md.us; Jim.Gilchrist@house.state.md.us; Cheryl.Glenn@house.state.md.us; Anne.Healey@house.state.md.us; Patrick.Hogan@house.state.md.us; Marvin.Holmes@house.state.md.us; Jay.Jacobs@house.state.md.us; Stephen.Lafferty@house.state.md.us; Herb.McMillan@house.state.md.us; Doyle.Niemann@house.state.md.us; Wayne.Norman@house.state.md.us; Anthony.ODonnell@house.state.md.us; Charles.Otto@house.state.md.us; Shane.Robinson@house.state.md.us; Dana.Stein@house.state.md.us; Cathy.Vitale@house.state.md.us; Michael.Weir@house.state.md.us; CT.Wilson@house.state.md.us brian.frosh@senate.state.md.us; lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us; jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us; jennie.forehand@senate.state.md.us; joseph.getty@senate.state.md.us; nancy.jacobs@senate.state.md.us; victor.ramirez@senate.state.md.us; jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us; christopher.shank@senate.state.md.us; norman.stone@senate.state.md.us; bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us

For more information on the Committees, click here.

About Women's Law Center

The Women's Law Center of Maryland is a private, non-profit, membership organization that serves as a leading voice for justice and fairness for women. It advocates for the rights for women through policy analysis, research, education, advocacy and direct services.

Website: http://www.wlcmd.org

Women's Law Center of Maryland, Inc.

Tracy Brown

Executive Director

email: legislative@wlcmd.org

phone: 410-321-8761

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