Atlanta City Council approves ordinance prohibiting rent voucher discrimination

The Atlanta City Council approved an ordinance on Monday prohibiting landlords from refusing to rent or sell a home based on the applicant’s source of income, including the use of government housing vouchers.

Councilmember Antonio Brown, the bill’s originating sponsor, believes that the legislation is first and foremost about equity.

“Our laws already protect you from housing discrimination based on things like age, gender, and race,” Brown said. “However, using a voucher as your source of income makes you just as much a potential victim of this kind of discriminatory behavior. I think it’s critical that we codify that there’s no place for that in Atlanta.”

Councilmember Amir Farokhi, who co-sponsored the legislation, feels the measure is an important step forward in addressing the city’s affordable housing concerns.

“I was proud to stand with Councilmember Brown on this legislation,” Farokhi said. “This is an important, tangible step forward on equitable housing access. Removing barriers to access for would-be renters and buyers allows our neighborhoods to be economically diverse, which is a foundation for economic mobility. Everyone deserves to share in the benefits of our city’s growth.”

The council also approved legislation encouraging the Georgia General Assembly to prohibit landlords statewide from refusing to accept subsidized housing vouchers as rental income.

The council approved other measures at Monday’s meeting related to affordable housing concerns, including an ordinance authorizing the Department of City Planning to establish a building permit fee waiver program available to private sector entities pursuing an affordable housing development or development that includes a defined number of units set aside as affordable housing.

An ordinance authorizing the city and Invest Atlanta to prioritize funding received via Community Development Block Grants and other sources, financial incentives, and financing options for development projects that include affordable housing for the next five years. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a federally funded grant that focuses on benefiting low- to moderate-income people by providing resources for livable neighborhoods, economic empowerment, and decent housing.

In addition, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a 180-day moratorium on building permits for the neighborhoods surrounding Westside Park citing rapid gentrification and concerns about affordable housing. Read more about that move at this link.

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