Seattle steps up defenses against housing discrimination

Growth isn’t sustainable. At least, not the kind we’re seeing here in Seattle, where a bloated private housing market, inflated by a thriving economy, is pricing out a growing population of homeless and low-income residents. And the more city officials try to rip and tear their way out of this tangled mess, the web only seems to grow thicker. The city council attempted to confront a big part of this issue two weeks ago when it unanimously passed a law that expands the city’s Open Housing Ordinance to protect renters from discrimination based on the source of their income. Other parts of the bill include requirements for housing providers to accept eviction assistance vouchers — rather than tossing renters who fall behind on payments — and the prohibition of preferred employer programs that favor workers from certain companies. The provisions also include what appears to be the first of its kind in the nation, a program which requires providers to view applicants one at a time and accept the first one that meets their criteria.


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