SAN ANTONIO — In a matter of months, homeowners’ associations across the state will no longer be able to discriminate against renters who receive housing assistance through the federal government.
This law comes after a North Texas neighborhood enacted a rule last Summer that prohibited landlords from renting to section 8 tenants.
“They had to evict all of their voucher holders effective immediately which had the impact in Providence Village of evicting virtually all of the non-white residents of the town,” Ben Martin with Texas Housers said.
That move caused lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act. The bill was led by state Representative Chris Turner from Grand Prairie. Starting September 1, HOAs will no longer be able to restrict landlords from renting to voucher holders.
"This was a victory for low-income renters in the state of Texas," Martin said.
However, landlords are still given the choice to turn away low-income renters.
Ben Martin, with Texas Housers, said while this is a victory for low-income renters, there is still more work to be done.
Martin said his organization works to make sure all Texans have access to safe and affordable housing.
“For voucher holders, it’s hard enough to get a voucher,” Martin said. “There’s much more need than there are actual vouchers to hand out.”
He said many landlords, especially in San Antonio, do not rent out to voucher holders.
“In San Antonio, one in two voucher recipients cannot find a place to rent where a landlord will rent to a voucher holder before they run out of time and have to turn the voucher back in,” Martin said.
Martin said most voucher holders in the city end up living in high poverty areas.
“The average census tract where a voucher holder lives, like the average neighborhood where a voucher holder lives has a poverty rate of higher than 25%,” Martin said.
Martin said his group fights for change because he believes low-income families deserve access to better job opportunities and better schools.