Baltimore County Council Hears Housing Discrimination Bill

The Baltimore County Council held a hearing Thursday on a bill to prohibit housing discrimination based on source of income.

The fate of the bill, which was introduced by County Executive Kamenetz, remains unclear.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

The Baltimore County Council heard impassioned pleas Thursday to pass a bill that bars landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants who hold government housing vouchers.

But as a vote approaches on Aug. 1, the measure faces uncertain odds, with Councilman Julian Jones the only member committed to backing the bill.

The other six members have expressed misgivings ranging from concerns that the bill strips property rights from landlords to worries that it could further concentrate poor people in neighborhoods that already have a high number of vouchers.

An earlier article in The Baltimore Sun reports on the history of the bill:

The bill, proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, would bar landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants based on their source of income. While the bill is written broadly, the goal is to stop discrimination against people who have housing vouchers, commonly called Section 8.

Currently, landlords can decide whether or not to accept housing vouchers as a form of payment. Baltimore County has about 6,200 vouchers, funded by the federal government.

The council is required to consider the bill as a result of a settlement of a housing discrimination complaint. To settle the complaint, Baltimore County also agreed to spend millions of dollars to induce developers to build affordable housing and to move poor tenants out of areas with concentrated voucher use into neighborhoods with few vouchers.

Coverage from The Baltimore Sun:

Baltimore County Council Hears Both Sides on Housing Discrimination Debate

Baltimore County Council to Hear Testimony on Housing Voucher Bill On Thursday

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

Baltimore County Settles Federal Housing Discrimination Complaint