A bill to ban discrimination against people with housing vouchers hasn't even been introduced to the Baltimore County Council yet, but hundreds of people showed their support for the measure Monday night at a council meeting in Towson.
Hundreds of people in matching lavender T-shirts packed the Baltimore County Council chambers Monday to support the measure, known as the Home Act. They were organized by Baltimore County Communities for the Homeless.
"Everyone needs a place to call home," said the Rev. Kristofer Lindh-Payne, co-rector of Epiphany Episcopal Church in Timonium.
The Home Act, he told council members, wouldn't be a burden to landlords, would still allow them to screen tenants and would help people with housing vouchers who receive Social Security.
Megan Goffney from the Community Assistance Network, which operates shelters in the county, said voucher holders are often unfairly judged and face barriers that others don't face when trying to rent a home.
"Let's not put everyone in a box," she said.
While the Home Act supporters filled more than half of the council chambers, a handful of people spoke against the measure.
Wayne Kern described himself as a landlord who is not interested in accepting tenants with housing vouchers. He said a real estate agent told him that voucher holders "don't know how to behave in a civilized manner."
Kern said he's opposed to the government telling him who to accept as a tenant, which he decried as "socialism."