Tenants in low-income housing situations should not face discrimination based on how they pay their rent. This is known as source of income discrimination, or SOID.
Without SOID laws, landlords can turn away renters who receive cash assistance for rent; therefore, a landlord could deny someone with a Section 8 voucher, if so inclined.
Why is this so important for our communities? When landlords refuse to accept vouchers or other cash assistance, this limits options for families and reduces access to resource-rich neighborhoods with jobs, transit, quality schools and other services. This creates segregated communities.
Cities in Washington that already provide some protection against this kind of discrimination include Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Renton, Olympia, Tumwater and Vancouver, as well as unincorporated King County.
Tacoma and many other Washington cities are missing from this list.
As a social worker, I ask people to educate themselves on state Senate Bill 5407 and House Bill 1633 and help promote social justice within the rental housing market.