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Association Hosts Source of Income Stakeholder Roundtable in Charlotte

On January 29, the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association (GCAA) successfully hosted a stakeholder roundtable to foster a constructive dialogue among housing providers, city officials, the Inlivian Housing Authority and local housing advocates. The focus was to brainstorm proactive solutions that encourage local rental housing providers to accept Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) and provide education on the challenges faced by housing providers that deter participation.

As part of GCAA’s panel of experts, Jodie Applewhite, Manager of Public Policy at NAA, provided a national overview and articulated concerns about “source of income” (SOI) legislation. SOI protections in fair housing laws are intended to prevent discrimination against renters who utilize HCV vouchers or other housing subsidies. However, in practice, these laws have the effect of requiring rental housing providers to participate in the HCV program and force compliance with all the administrative requirements that go with it.

While there is conversation among the Charlotte City Council about a “source of income” proposal, no legislation has been introduced. Currently, GCAA is focusing its advocacy efforts on educating lawmakers and city officials on why a short-term fix for housing affordability will not solve challenges for cost-burdened renters that require a comprehensive, long-term approach. As part of this strategy, members of the GCAA Legislative Committee are sharing their experiences with the HCV Program and engaging with city officials to help them understand the valid business reasons why property owners choose not to participate.

It is important that lawmakers understand that legitimate business reasons prevent housing providers from accepting vouchers; it may not be cost-effective or feasible to adhere to the program’s requirements to accept a single voucher holder. It’s also important to note that, even under source of income laws, housing providers can still deny applications from voucher holders if the applicant did not meet the company’s screening criteria. While well intentioned, such mandates are self-defeating because they greatly diminish private market participation and the number of available units in high opportunity areas.

Source of income will remain a hot topic for NAA in the upcoming years, as more states and localities consider solutions to housing affordability and seek ways to find safe and affordable housing for the low-to-middle income population. To better assist our affiliates, NAA has a plethora of information that can be found on the Source of Income policy page. If you are aware of any new source of income proposals or have questions about the issue, please contact Jodie Applewhite, Manager of Public Policy.