April 16, 2018

Enterprise New York Leads Statewide Coalition #BanIncomeBiasNY, a Campaign to End Source of Income Discrimination in New York State

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The Statewide Source of Income (SOI) Coalition, led by Enterprise New York in partnership with Erase Racism, the Fair Housing Justice Center and the New York Housing Conference, kicked off Fair Housing Month by launching #BanIncomeBiasNY to help end housing discrimination based on a person's source of income.  

More than 576,000 low-income New Yorkers use federal rental assistance to pay for housing. Without SOI legislation, landlords can legally refuse to accept their money. Some cities and counties, such as Buffalo, Hamburg, Nassau County, New York City, Suffolk County, Syracuse, Westchester and West Seneca, have laws banning income discrimination in housing, but they are not uniform and limited in scope.

The lack of SOI protections impacts some of New York State’s most vulnerable populations, including: 

  • The elderly
  • Persons living with disabilities
  • Domestic violence survivors
  • Persons who are homeless
  • Families with children
  • Ethnic and racial minorities
  • Veterans 

SOI discrimination drives poverty and segregation by restricting low-income families to certain areas, often with higher crime and underperforming schools. SOI discrimination is also often used as a proxy for illegal discrimination based on disability, familial status or race.

“Source of income discrimination reinforces segregation, perpetuates generational poverty and limits opportunities for New Yorkers,” said Judi Kende, Enteprise vice president and New York market leader. “This is a civil rights violation; the legislature must act to protect hundreds of thousands of people across the state who use non-wage income to pay for housing.”

Earlier this year Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley introduced Assembly Bill 10077, which intends to amend the State Human Rights Law to include source of income as a protected class, prohibiting housing providers from discriminating against individuals who use non-wage income or funds from federal, state or local governmental entities to pay for all or part of their housing. 

The Coalition will hold a press conference and lobby day at the State Capitol on April 24 to encourage the passage of the bill by the end of the legislative session in June. Thus far, 41 coalition members from across the state have signed on in support of the legislation, including affordable and fair housing organizations, senior advocacy groups, homelessness advocacy groups and tenants’ rights organizations. To join us at the #BanIncomeBiasNY lobby day, RSVP here.

Follow the #BanIncomeBiasNY campaign on Twitter at @banincomebiasny. If you are interested in joining the Statewide Source of Income Coalition, please email banincomebiasny@gmail.com. For any additional questions or concerns, please contact Aliya Brown at 212.284.7214. You can also view our full press release.

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