Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Mossburg wrong on housing vouchers

As the legislative chair of the Maryland Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies, which represents the agencies that actually administer the Section 8 rental assistance program, it was disturbing to read the distortions in Marta Mossburg's recent column ("Forcing landlords to accept vouchers won't help the poor," April 23).

In addition to Ms. Mossburg's misstatements related to the Maryland HOME Act bill itself, which is merely intended to protect every person in the state as long as they have a lawful source of income, she instead focuses on whether the discrimination Section 8 voucher holders experience at the hand of landlords really makes any difference at all. Well, in my experience it does!

Section 8 voucher holders in Washington County move as far away from areas where poverty is concentrated as they can. When a family gets a voucher, in most jurisdictions they are given 60 days to find a unit that meets the program repair standards. Finding a unit for rent in a nicer neighborhood and then having the landlord say, "But I do not accept Section 8," makes the housing search painful, time-consuming and often a waste of gasoline.

For a family holding a Section 8 voucher, this message has to look like a fair housing issue, even though the discrimination is not based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status. Thank goodness three Maryland counties (Frederick, Howard, and Montgomery) and two Maryland cities (Annapolis and Frederick) already have this law. Landlords who opposed passage of the HOME act just need to screen Section 8 voucher holders the same way they would screen any other potential renter. That is what we do.

Ms. Mossburg should know that landlords use the full security deposit they collect to cover damages — not some pot of government funding. Section 8 rent increases are governed by what is reasonable, not by any state edict (after all, this is a federal program). The bill won't expand the number of Section 8 vouchers, it will potentially just allow them to be spread around more fairly and equally. So Mr. or Mrs. Landlord, what is the problem with getting part of your rent automatically paid on the first of the month without fail and having someone else give you a free annual housing inspection so you will know if there are any tenant-caused damages?

Richard Willson, Hagerstown

The writer is executive director of the Housing Authority of Washington County.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    • Fix Section 8 and landlords will step up
      Fix Section 8 and landlords will step up

      Recent letters to the editor have focused on the reality that people deserving of Section 8 assistance need more landlords to open up their homes and apartments to Section 8 so that the housing poor will more quickly and easily obtain the housing that they need.

    • Section 8 is no burden to landlords
      Section 8 is no burden to landlords

      I recently read the letter James Gatton wrote to The Sun in response to Stefanie Deluca's letter to the editor. Mr . Gatton's letter ("Section 8 housing is a nightmare for landlords," May 12) could be no further from the truth.

    • Pass the Home Act
      Pass the Home Act

      I strongly agree with Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. director Robert J. Strupp that all Marylanders should have an equal opportunity to live in decent, safe housing with "access to transportation, jobs and safe, academically achieving schools" ("State shouldn't let landlords discriminate," May...

    • Section 8 housing is a nightmare for landlords
      Section 8 housing is a nightmare for landlords

      In a recent letter to the editor, Johns Hopkins professor Stefanie DeLuca recently suggested that many landlords refuse to rent to people with Section 8 housing vouchers because they are unfairly prejudiced against those prospective tenants ("Mossburg misrepresents research on vouchers," May...

    • Mossburg misrepresents research on housing vouchers

      In her April 23 column, “Forcing landlords to accept vouchers won't help the poor,” Marta H. Mossburg quoted me as saying that laws prohibiting landlords to accept Section 8 vouchers “exacerbate” the problem of finding housing for the poor. That’s wrong. When Ms....

    • State shouldn't let landlords discriminate
      State shouldn't let landlords discriminate

      Rejecting tenants because they pay with Section 8 vouchers is unfair and furthers segregation

    • Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?
      Who cares what the CIA does to terrorists?

      Am I living in the Twilight Zone? It sure seem so when I read some of the liberal nonsense being regurgitated in The Sun concerning the Senate Democrats' release of their CIA report on torture ("Holding the CIA to account," Dec. 9).

    • What's the bang for our health exchange buck?
      What's the bang for our health exchange buck?

      The article, "Health exchange enrolls over 100,000 people" (Dec. 17), was informative, and I hope reporter Meredith Cohn has a follow up.

    Comments
    Loading