Fair Housing Remains an Important Issue in Dallas
There’s a housing crisis going on in America, including in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Before the pandemic, inventory in Dallas was already short about 20,000 units causing housing prices to rise. Then COVID-19 struck, exacerbating the situation. Today, many Dallas residents, even those with good jobs, are having problems finding affordable housing. If you’re a low-income buyer, the challenge is even greater. Part of that increased difficulty in securing housing stems from the Texas law that allows landlords to refuse to rent to residents based on their source of income, like section 8 vouchers. Luckily, two new bills, Senate Bill 265 and House Bill 1470, are hoping to change that.
The Relationship Between Fair Housing and Affordable Housing
While it’s true that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 made discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap, and family status illegal roughly 53 years ago, the negative economic effects of the racially biased policies and attitudes that preceded it still exist.
“African American families that were prohibited from buying homes in the suburbs in the 1940s and ‘50s, and even into the 1960s, by the Federal Housing Administration gained none of the equity appreciation that Whites gained,” Richard Rothstein, a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said in his film Segregated by Design.
Many families of color across a range of nationalities continue to be affected by these policies as they prohibited the opportunity to build multi-generational wealth and financial freedoms — like being able to borrow against a home’s equity to start a business or fund college education — that investing in real estate can provide.
That’s why discrimination based on “source of income” isn’t specifically racially charged but rather disproportionally affects communities of color who are still impacted by policies that existed less than two mortgages ago.
“In Dallas and in Texas, a lot of voucher holders are Black. If you discriminate against people with these vouchers, you are discriminating against Black people,” Demetria McCain, president of the Dallas-based Inclusive Communities Project told The Texas Tribune.
It also shows just how important and impactful real estate can be. Stable housing and access to real estate are some of the most effective tools in helping communities break cycles of poverty, and that’s great for both real estate professionals looking to find future homebuyers or investors and residents who want to own property, regardless of their political perspective.
The Legislation: Senate Bill 265 and House Bill 1470
Introduced in March of 2021, Senate Bill 265 and House Bill 1470 aim to eliminate source of income discrimination, but “no housing-related bills have been designated as priorities by the governor or the lieutenant governor,” according to The Texas Tribune. Of course, with enough voices that could change. If you feel strongly about this issue, please write to your local legislators and urge them to make passing Senate Bill 265 and House Bill 1470 a priority. It will take all of us to ensure that everyone has equal access to housing and the wealth of benefits it reaps.