June 29, 2022

Cortez Masto Introduces Bill to Prevent Housing Discrimination Against Veterans, Working Families

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and other Senate colleagues in introducing the Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2022 to protect veterans and working families from housing discrimination. Current law allows landlords to deny housing to individuals based on source of income, and many veterans and low-income families have reported discrimination when using vouchers to pay their rent. The Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2022 would expand protections under the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to include banning discrimination based on source of income, giving more individuals and families access to affordable housing and a shot at economic mobility.

“Housing vouchers help many Nevadans afford a safe and stable home,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Landlords shouldn’t be able to discriminate against Nevadans who use this important means of support, and I’m proud to introduce this bill that will protect our veterans' and working families' access to affordable housing options.”  

The federal government provides vouchers to help 2.3 million veterans and low-income households live in decent, stable private market housing. Landlords, however, can reject these vouchers in states and cities where there are no source of income protections. Fair housing complaints have remained steady, with nearly 29,000 complaints in 2020. People of color, particularly Black women, are disproportionately impacted and more likely than any other group to be evicted or denied housing.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2022 would add source of income and veteran status to the list of protected classes. It would prohibit landlords from denying housing to individuals who use Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8), HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers, benefits received through Social Security, income received by a court order, payment from a trust or guardian, or any other lawful source of income.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a leader in building more homes for Nevadans. Cortez Masto’s support of the American Rescue Plan helped deliver $800 million in affordable housing funding to the state of Nevada. Her support for federal housing investment has helped preserve or build more than 17,000 affordable homes in the state in the past five years. She has also successfully passed legislation to ensure that state and local governments consider manufactured housing when prioritizing their housing investments and require transportation agencies to consider housing in their plans. She has secured protections for homeowners and renters and led multiple bills to increase federal and private funding for housing, make homes more affordable, prevent housing discrimination, and hold lenders accountable for discrimination in mortgage lending. In addition, she has secured a commitment for a targeted affordable housing fund for Nevada from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.