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Section 8 Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Passes


For over a year, I have worked with my colleagues in amending the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance to prohibit discrimination against Housing Choice Vouchers (also known as “Section 8”) as a form of income for tenants seeking housing in the City. This action will require section 8 voucher holders to receive the same consideration given to other prospective tenants, and eliminate the “No Section 8” warning that is unfortunately all too common in rental listings. I am proud to be co-author and I thank Council Members Elizabeth Glidden and Lisa Goodman for sponsoring this ordinance with me. I celebrate this victory knowing there is still a lot more work to do around affordable housing. I’m committed to make the case that affordable housing is needed throughout our communities and will work to create more opportunities in my capacity as a Council Member.

This ordinance is a measure intended to put voucher holders on equal footing with other people seeking housing options in Minneapolis and will take effect May 1, 2018. The City’s Civil Rights Department will oversee enforcement of the ordinance.  Under the ordinance, landlords will only be obligated to consider renting to voucher holders. That means a landlord can’t refuse to rent, impose unique standards, or otherwise treat Housing Choice Voucher holders differently from tenants without vouchers. Landlords retain their ability to screen the voucher holders like other tenants using legal criteria. The ordinance also includes an undue hardship clause for landlords based on financial considerations, among other factors.

 About 6% of the city’s rental units will be impacted by the ordinance. There are approximately 5,000 Housing Choice Voucher holders in Minneapolis and more than 1,700 families on the program’s waiting list. About 94 percent of Minneapolis voucher holders are people of color, 77 percent are women, 39 percent are people with disabilities and 53 percent are children.

 The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) is also moving forward with enhancements to its inspections program and other improvements to make the program work better for families and landlords. In addition to the ordinance, the City Council directed City staff to work with the MPHA to develop a landlord incentive fund designed to eliminate barriers to acceptance of Housing Choice Voucher holders.

March has been a month of great accomplishments. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the months to come.

All the best,

Council Member Abdi Warsame

Abdi Warsame Signature

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