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 5).

Having studied the bill, I can see that the provisions of the Home Act, with its source-of-income protection, would simply compel landlords to treat all tenant applicants fairly and would in no way prevent landlords from using criteria to ensure they are getting responsible, reliable tenants.

Although the Home Act won't solve the housing problems of all our most vulnerable citizens — those working for very low wages, fixed-income seniors, veterans and those with special needs — it can be one of the catalysts to ending the ever increasing economic segregation that, as Mr. Strupp notes, "reflects the racial segregation that not long ago was practiced lawfully in Maryland."

We have to use a number of ways to create affordable housing in decent neighborhoods, such as percentages of affordable housing in new developments. But the Home Act is one tool we mustn't throw away.

The Home Act is an important piece of the puzzle that must be solved to make affordable housing opportunities available in affluent neighborhoods as well as high poverty areas.

These provisions are in effect in Howard, Frederick, and Montgomery counties with similar pieces of legislation. The General Assembly must take heed of this and pass the Home Act next year.

Bro. Jerry O'Leary, Baltimore

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