Tashia and Aeon resident Patrick spoke at City Hall in support of the effort to require landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers.

Today is a victory: Minneapolis landlords can no longer discriminate against Section 8 voucher holders

Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), which include Section 8 vouchers, were supposed to make it easier for low-income individuals and families to find quality affordable housing that makes sense for where their kids go to school, where they see their doctor and where they work. Because many landlords do not accept Section 8 vouchers, however, it has become increasingly difficult for those with HCVs to get approved for housing at all.

This issue has been a matter of public debate recently, and Minneapolis’ City Council held a public hearing on March 22 to discuss a new ordinance that prohibits discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders. On behalf of Aeon, I had the privilege of adding our voice to a wellspring of support for this proposed change, as we believe the ordinance will create a more level playing field for my Minneapolis neighbors to find quality housing in a market with very low vacancy rates.

Current voucher holders also came to voice their support. Stories of settling for rundown apartments and calling dozens of landlords only to find that the company didn’t accept vouchers made it clear that the current system isn’t working.

I heard stories of parents driving their children to school each day because they can’t find a landlord to accept their Section 8 voucher and are forced to live outside the district.

By chance, I met one of our Aeon residents, who stood up and shared his struggle to find an apartment in his neighborhood that welcomed Section 8 tenants. That is, until he moved closer to downtown and found a home at Aeon’s Elms apartments.

These stories are not new to me. Over the past 12 years working at Aeon I have heard many similar stories from Aeon residents. While my colleagues at Aeon agree with private landlords that the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority’s system is inefficient and must be fixed, we strongly support the effort to require landlords to accept public assistance funding, and were thrilled to learn today that the full Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed the ordinance.

Today I celebrate this victory knowing there is still a lot more work to do around affordable housing in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, our current political climate and economy are creating additional barriers to affordable housing. We are losing affordable apartments faster than we can build them. With this climate, Aeon recognizes that we will need to do more to rally our friends and supporters to make the case that affordable housing is needed throughout our communities. In my new role as Community Engagement Manager, Aeon plans to harness the energy and passion of our supporters to do more advocacy work on behalf of Aeon on the local and state level.

Watch for more information in the upcoming months on how you can get involved or contact me at tweisenburger@nullaeonmn.org or 612-746-0524 to volunteer for this advocacy effort.

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