August 21, 2018

Denver Adds Source of Income Protection to Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

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Source of Income Discrimination Ordinance vote by Denver City Council in Colorado

On August 6, the Denver City Council voted to include source of income (SOI) protection to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which adds income protection to other existing protections, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation and military status. Denver joins 65 cities and 14 states that protect prospective tenants based on source of income. 

The National Housing Law Project defines source of income discrimination as “when searching for a dwelling, many households face discrimination by landlords who are unwilling to rent to people with non-traditional income (housing vouchers, student loans, alimony etc.).”

Soon, those looking for housing in the city and county of Denver can no longer be turned away based solely on their source of income; they must be given the same chance as those with traditional sources of income (income derived from employment) when applying for housing. Even so, this ordinance does not guarantee anyone housing, but it does remove the discriminatory automatic denial too many families face based on their source of income. 

When SOI discrimination is eliminated, cities experience: 

  • Decreased centralized poverty
  • Greater housing voucher utilization
  • Increased chances for families to secure quality housing

Those with non-traditional sources of income, such as student loans, housing vouchers, veterans or disability benefits, will have more options when searching for a home. Beginning January 1, 2019, when the law goes into effect, advertisements that tout “no section 8 or housing vouchers” will no longer be allowed. Each person who applies for a rental must be given an equal shot alongside those with traditional sources of income. 

Enterprise, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and 9to5 Colorado worked closely with Councilwoman Robin Kniech (At-Large) on a collective education, advocacy and community engagement strategy in support of the local Source of Income ordinance leading up to the August vote. 

The Source of Income effort was a result of community feedback and collective research on best practices for removing barriers to accessing housing. We applaud Denver City Council members in recognizing that no one should be turned away from housing they can afford, simply because of how they pay for housing. Because of the leadership of Councilwoman Kniech and the overall efforts of Enterprise and our partners, Denver residents will have a greater range of options when looking for housing in 2019. 

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