Our communities are strongest when everyone has access to safe, affordable housing to care for our loved ones and enjoy a quality, healthy life.
Our neighbors are struggling to keep up with the cost of rent, especially as the shortage of affordable housing becomes more apparent. Lincoln must ensure we are using housing assistance to its full extent.
Housing assistance works.
It helps communities thrive, especially for our neighbors with disabilities, single parents, and Black and brown neighbors.
Lincoln can lead this fight.
Our city can model how to address the crisis by ensuring that assistance can’t be used as a form of discrimination.
It’s the right thing to do.
Housing assistance, also known as Source of Income, can come from any legal source of income and is one piece of the affordable housing puzzle.
WHAT IS SOURCE OF INCOME?
A pathway to prosperity – if we follow it
Source of income, or SOI, is any legal kind of income that can be used to pay for rent – a paycheck, disability, Social Security, rent assistance, or housing vouchers. The Housing Choice Voucher program is an important protection that can expand the housing choices available to voucher holders, including in resource-rich neighborhoods where affordable housing options might otherwise be unavailable.
What's the Problem?
Lincoln is facing a severe shortage of affordable housing.
Housing is unaffordable for 45% of Lincolnites who rent at all income levels. About 21,200 Lincoln households are cost-burdened by their housing, while 86% of extremely low-income families spend more than 33% of their income on rent. Source of income assistance can can reduce concentrations of poverty and related social problems, and provides lower-income families with greater access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods. Voucher holders frequently want to move to higher-opportunity neighborhoods but are unable to do so – in many cities and states, local law allows landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the basis of their source of income.
Why should we care?
Housing protections prevent eviction and homelessness.
These protections require landlords to accept any legal source of income, including housing vouchers. Recipients are 12% more likely to successfully use their voucher in a city, county or state with source of income protections than in places without such laws. As of March 2023, 21 states and 126 local jurisdictions across the United States have adopted similar protections.
How can we solve this?
The Housing Choice Voucher program must be more effective.
At least 20% of Lincoln renters with vouchers aren’t able to use them. This most affects those with disabilities, single female heads of household, families with children, and racial minorities. These groups make up the majority who receive rental assistance or supplemental sources of income.
We can change city law so people won’t be turned away from their potential home just because of how they pay.