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Reps. Miller, Upchurch introduce legislation to prohibit discrimination in housing

Bill seeks to end a new generation of redlining
March 5, 2021
Adam C. Miller News

COLUMBUS- State Reps. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 182, legislation that would prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants who utilize the federal government’s Housing Choice Voucher program.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended in 1988, prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability.  But discrimination in housing, particularly against economically disadvantaged minorities, continues.  Public housing has shifted over the years from unit based to voucher based.  The use of vouchers was designed so a new form of redlining – discrimination in housing laws – would be eliminated and voucher recipients could find housing in communities of their choice.

“Most landlords are stepping up and doing the right thing” said Miller. “This bill just codifies common sense— you shouldn’t be able to deny someone a home because they are getting some help.  The whole movement to vouchers was aimed at inclusion and choice, and this bill ensures that outcome.”

“This bill is a step towards fulfilling the Ohio Promise because it will ensure that all Ohioans have the opportunity to access affordable and quality housing without the fear of discrimination,” said Upchurch.

In Ohio, approximately 34 percent of households rent their homes.  More than 225,000 households in our state use a federal housing voucher to help pay the rent. Housing Choice Voucher holders often struggle to find rental homes. This stems from landlords who have blanket policies against accepting vouchers as payment. In most areas, landlords are permitted under the law to openly discriminate against these possible tenants.

HB 182 would simply prohibit landlords from discrimination against tenants based on form of payment – particularly the use of federal vouchers for rent. 15 states have passed similar laws. This legislation will help prevent a new form of redlining and work to create true multi-income, multi-cultural communities.

HB 182 now awaits referral to a House committee.