Washington’s skyrocketing housing markets have pushed landlords to avoid risky tenants like those relying on Section 8 housing assistance. Now local legislators have passed a bill seeking to block this kind of housing discrimination.
Seattle—Mindy Woods fought her way out of homelessness.
It’s a success story state lawmakers and advocacy groups are trying to replicate by targeting perhaps the biggest challenge faced by the homeless: rejection.
Ms. Woods slept on friends’ couches for eight months and had eight property owners turn her down before she found a landlord willing to accept her Section 8 voucher, a federal subsidy that helps low-income people pay their rent.
“I have no criminal record, no evictions,” Woods, a Navy veteran, said in an interview from the one-bedroom apartment she finally landed in 2016 in Edmonds, north of Seattle. “There’s no reason not to rent to me.”
The obstacles she faced may soon become illegal in Washington state, where legislators are advancing a bill that would prohibit landlords from turning away tenants who rely on Section 8 vouchers, Social Security, or veterans benefits.