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Source of Income Discrimination in Housing

Christa Walikonis, a TCDD Policy Fellow with Disability Rights Texas, shared insights from her research into the experiences of people with DD who apply for Section 8 housing vouchers. Walikonis noted some of the barriers faced by people with DD when trying to secure housing in Austin using Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. Some of the barriers included high rental rates, few landlords accepting Section 8 tenants, and the lack of units that are affordable and accessible to voucher holders.
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  • 1. SOURCE OF INCOME DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING ChristaWalikonis,TCDD Policy Fellow
  • 2. Housing Goals • Affordable • Accessible • Integrated 2
  • 3. Sources of Housing Assistance ■ Section 8 Housing ChoiceVouchers (est. 1974) ■ Low-Income HousingTax Credits (est. 1986) 3
  • 4. ■ Federal Program ■ Locally Administered ■ Periodically open waitlist and select a number of applications on a lottery system. ■ Income cannot exceed 50% of MFI ■ A family pays between 30 – 40% of their monthly income toward rent, and the housing authority covers the rest. ■ Once approved, they have 120 days (4 months) to find a suitable unit. Assists low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. 4
  • 5. 5,270 HCV Holders in Austin 62% have a disability 5
  • 6. Classes Protected by the Fair Housing Act ■ race ■ color ■ religion ■ national origin ■ sex ■ disability ■ familial status ■ source of income 6
  • 7. Relationship between SOI and protected classes ■ The FHA prohibits discrimination that is intentional and/or that has a disproportionately negative effect on a protected class. – However, a refusal to rent to a voucher holder may be a pretext for discrimination based on a protected class, – Or, because protected classes disproportionately represented among HCVP participants, the refusal to accept a voucher may have a disparate impact on them. 7
  • 8. Where Are Section 8 HousingVoucher Holders Protected by SOI Anti-Discrimination Laws? *Texas is the only jurisdiction to pass a law that protects a landlord’s right to discriminate Source: Affordable Housing Online 8
  • 9. ■ 91% of landlords in Austin refused to accept Section 8 tenants ■ 94% of units in the right rent range were not accessible to voucher holders 9
  • 10. SOI LAWS inTEXAS 2014 • Dallas & Austin pass Source- Of-Income ordinances 2015 •Legislature negates ordinances, passing SB 267 2017 • Fair housing advocates sued Texas, case pending. 10
  • 11. 11
  • 12. Reasons Landlords Don’t Accept HCV ■ Administrative burdens ■ Aversion to contracting with a federal program ■ Having to track down late payments from local housing authorities ■ Unnecessary standards for units ■ If a unit fails its inspection, it can take weeks to reschedule — costing them money 12
  • 13. Research Questions For the Austin vouchers issued in 2018: ■ How many people weren’t able to find housing before their voucher expired? ■ For those who found housing, how long did it take them? ■ In what neighborhoods were people finding housing? 13
  • 14. The average rent in Austin is $1,369 14
  • 15. 2018Voucher Issuance: 437 362 10 1 65 Leased Up Ported Out Searching Expired 83% 15
  • 16. Average Lease-UpTime 74 days or 2.4 months 16
  • 17. 17
  • 18. 18
  • 19. Benefits of Mixed-Income Neighborhoods ■ Poverty alleviation ■ Improved mental health ■ Increased tolerance for diversity ■ Improved housing quality ■ Increased accessible services ■ Improved neighborhood conditions 19
  • 20. ■ An federal subsidy used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. ■ Developers compete every year for this tax credit based on a point system. ■ Owners must keep units rent restricted and available to low-income tenants. ■ Required to accept housing vouchers 20
  • 21. 164 LIHTC Properties within Austin City Limits 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 Distribution of LIHTC Properties by % in Poverty 21 Percent in Poverty Percent of LIHTC Properties 10% 17% 20% 24% 30% 25% 40% 21% 50% 10% 60% 3%
  • 22. Barriers to Affordable Housing Development 22
  • 23. QUESTIONS? 23
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