What is Source of Income Discrimination (SOID)?

SOID plays out in many ways including, but not limited to:

  • applying different terms and conditions to a tenant;
  • harassing or retaliating against a tenant;
  • using different preferences or limitations in advertising;
  • denying a housing application;
  • refusing to show a unit to a prospective tenant; and
  • unfairly expelling or evicting of a tenant.

Source of income discrimination in Charlotte, just as in many large and medium sized cities throughout the country is prevalent and disproportionally impacts those protected classes under existing Federal Fair Housing laws.  Impacted protected classes impacted include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.

Today in Charlotte many thousands of households rely on legal, non-wage sources to pay their rent. These sources can include:

  • COVID-19 federal stimulus checks
  • disability/social security
  • child support
  • student loans
  • Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV)
  • HCV Veterans Affairs Supporting Housing (VASH) program

The City of Charlotte’s lack of SOID protections has an adverse impact on many of our neighbors who are among the most marginalized populations, including our elderly, persons living with disabilities, persons who are experiencing homelessness, mothers with children, ethnic and racial minorities, and veterans.

As unemployment figures in Charlotte and across the country grow due to COVID-19 pandemic impacts, many tenants are struggling to make their rent payments. While some are able to dip into their savings or are still employed, the most severe impacts of the economic shutdown on rent payments are likely yet to come. It is more crucial now than ever that renters be able to pay rent with all lawful sources of income.

SOID protections is not a “silver bullet”, but is a key component in ensuring equitable access to housing for qualified tenants. Amending the City of Charlotte’s Fair Housing Ordinance to include SOID protections aligns with community-wide efforts, to:

  • “Better align local resources with policies that support voucher use” (cited via page 8 of the Housing Charlotte Framework).
  • Better “Coordinate with the INLIVIAN and other local voucher programs on opportunities to use vouchers to support target populations, particularly in areas with strong pathways to opportunity” (cited via page 8 of the Housing Charlotte Framework).
  • More efficiently provide safe and decent housing to our most vulnerable.
  • Better utilize unpredictable and inadequate Federal funds dedicated to housing vulnerable families.
  • Launch creative budget neutral housing policy solutions in a time of fiscal uncertainty.
  • Work towards the city’s economic mobility goals by expanding housing choice.