Business, Politics

Johnny Olszewski signs HOME Act into law [VIDEO]

TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski signed the HOME Act into law on Tuesday.

The controversial Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act was passed earlier this month by a vote that, not surprisingly, went along party lines.

The HOME Act, which Olszewski introduced in October, makes it illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to a potential tenant based on the person’s source of income.  Source of income can refer to income from a job, public assistance programs, benefits and considerations (such as an inheritance, a pension, an annuity, etc.) or the sale of a property. Source of income includes participation in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

Opponents say the bill unjustly forces landlords to accept Section 8 renters.  The issue was such a hot topic that Sixth District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins – a Democrat whose jurisdiction includes White Marsh and Middle River – said she received death threats after she voted in favor of the bill.

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Fifth District Councilman David Marks – a Republican whose jurisdiction includes Towson, Perry Hall, and Kingsville – was opposed to the legislation.

“Contrary to its name, this bill does not equalize housing opportunities,” said Marks earlier this month. “Wealthy neighborhoods with no rentals will not be affected, while communities like Seven Courts will bear the full brunt of this legislation and the housing settlement crafted by the Kamenetz administration.”

On Tuesday, the HOME Act became law.

“This morning, we signed the HOME Act into law, taking a huge step forward toward ending housing discrimination,” said County Executive Olszewski. “This is a momentous day for Baltimore County. Thank you to everyone who helped pass this bill. Together, we will build a better and more equitable Baltimore County.”

Video below.

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