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Source of Income Discrimination

WHEREAS, the average low-income American family cannot afford decent housing for their families. Specifically, in 42 states, two workers who earn the federal minimum wage do not make enough to afford adequate housing; and

WHEREAS, as real estate prices skyrocket, lower-income workers have been priced out of the housing market. Today more than one in eight Americans spend more than half their income on housing and one in three Americans spend more than 30% of their income on housing; and

WHEREAS, the number of affordable housing units available to low-income Americans is rapidly declining, Since 1993, the number of affordable rental units has decreased by 1.2 million; and

WHEREAS, the demand for federal Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers far outpaces the supply. The program serves only one in four families eligible for Section8 housing vouchers. Many families have spent years on the waiting list. Under the Bush Administration, the number of new vouchers has fallen sharply; and

WHEREAS, landlords discriminate against tenants with Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. In most states, landlords are permitted to discriminate against prospective tenants based on their source of income; and

WHEREAS, studies have shown families in need of housing gain greater access to decent, affordable housing when the source of income discrimination is prohibited; and

WHEREAS, economically diverse communities are created by the wide acceptance of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, and such communities have the resources to provide better schools, social services, and job opportunities and are better able to help low-income families break the cycle of poverty; and

WHEREAS, twelve states, (CA, CT, ME, MA, MN, NJ, ND, OK, OR, UT, VT, WI) have amended their laws to prohibit housing discrimination based on the source of income. Other jurisdictions that have similar enactments are Montgomery County, MD, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocates adding "source of income" to the list of unlawful bases for discrimination in the sale or rental of housing under the Fair Housing Act (i.e. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968); and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP strengthen existing campaigns, such as the NAACP STOP Campaign and any other subsequent initiatives that support balance and diversity of content in the entertainment industry to create positive role models for young people and by demanding more African Americans and other people of color in decision making positions in the entertainment industry.