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City passes ordinance that makes it unlawful for housing to discriminate based on applicant's income source

The Source of Income Ordinance will provide more housing options for those with section 8 housing choice vouchers.
Tucson City Council
Posted at 10:52 PM, Sep 27, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The City of Tucson passed the Source of Income Ordinance making it unlawful for a landlord or property manager to deny an application just because someone is using a section 8 housing choice voucher.

Angel Murray said she applied for a section 8 voucher about seven years ago.

“It's a big wait. It's a big letdown,” said Murray, a tenant at Tucson House.

“Probably within the last, probably eight months is when I got a voucher, but I told them that I couldn't find a place,” said Murray.

Murray used one word to describe the search to find a housing complex that accepts the voucher in Tucson.

“It is impossible,” Murray said. “Most people I know had to go to Phoenix or Marana or, you know, a different place outside of Tucson in order to get housing. So I had to give mine up, because it was just too much,” Murray added.

Murray said she ran out of time and chose not to ask for an extension to keep looking for housing with the voucher because it didn’t feel possible.

“Even the landlords that I did talk to, they are no longer participating in the program and don't know anybody that is. So, I did try to get like, references,” Murray said.

Ernesto Portillo with the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development said there is about 600 voucher holders in Tucson who haven’t found housing.

On Tuesday, the city council passed the Source of Income Ordinance with a vote of 7 to 0.

“It just simply makes it unlawful to reject outright someone who has a housing choice voucher,” said Portillo.

The Department of Housing and Community Development said they plan on reopening up the waitlist for section 8 vouchers or affordable housing in January of 2023, lottery style.

The last time the waitlist was open was 2017.

“It's unfortunate that a lot of people fell through the cracks before this happened because the people that want to do it now, they've got to now go back on the waiting list,” said Murray.

Faith Abercrombie is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before coming to KGUN, Faith worked as a videographer for the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation and as a reporter and producer on the youth suicide documentary, "Life is..." on Arizona PBS.
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