What is SOID?
Have you seen the acronym SOID and wondered what it means? SOID stands for Source of Income Discrimination and it refers to any instance where a housing provider refuses payment for housing from any legal form of monetary payment. These monetary sources include child support, disability checks, VA benefits, bequests, life insurance policies, and any rent assistance programs provided by the government or non-profit organizations to name a few.
Source of income is currently not included in Buncombe County’s or the Asheville’s Non-Discrimination Ordinances. That means landlords can deny a person a lease based upon the type or source of income they use to pay rent.
Why add Source of Income to ordinances?
- A recent Land of Sky Regional Council study shows that housing supply, accessibility, and discrimination are all potential problems for fair housing in Buncombe County. Five specific impediments to fair housing were identified and income discrimination was one of them. Read more in this Citizen-Times article. Eliminating discrimination based on income source would make decent housing accessible to more of our neighbors.
- Research shows housing vouchers reduce homelessness, overcrowding, and housing instability, as well as give people with lower income greater choice about where they live. A household with a voucher pays 30% of their income for rent and utilities while the voucher covers the rest.
- Despite the effectiveness of vouchers, this federal rental assistance program is vastly underfunded and underutilized. Once a family has a voucher, they often have to wait years for a property owner who will accept it. According to the Bowen Report, in the WNC region, 34% of housing vouchers (980) go unused.
- By adding source of income protection to the Non-Discrimination Ordinance, this could prevent years of hardship for families with vouchers and provide access to a decent place to live.
What YOU can do
- If you’re a landlord, accept vouchers and other sources of income not currently protected. Thrive AVL can help your navigate this with their Landlord-Tenant Partnership.
- Advocate for change! With Habitat’s support, a coalition of local fair housing advocates and residents impacted by housing discrimination have been advocating for source of income protection for years. We believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live and that no one should be denied housing because of how they pay their rent. We encourage you to learn more about SOID and take action by urging your elected officials to protect renters from source of income discrimination. Together, we can help make decent housing accessible to more local families.
Contact City Council members and Buncombe County Commissioners.