A pair of Democratic state House lawmakers have pending legislation to address housing affordability in Michigan.
State Reps. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor) and Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods) view addressing housing discrimination policies as one path toward achieving greater affordability. Neither bill has been formally introduced because the Legislature is on a break for the remainder of the month.
Rabhi’s proposed bill seeks to expand protections to the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and would ban housing discrimination based on income, as well as authorize the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to investigate insistences of discrimination.
“It’s hard enough for many Michiganders to find affordable housing,” Rabhi said in a statement. “It shouldn’t be legal for them to be turned away because of prejudice against people who use benefits to help pay for their housing.”
Wittenberg’s proposed bill would amend the state’s landlord and tenant act to specifically ban certain discriminatory practices.
“We just observed Veterans’ Day, yet more than 3,500 veterans were homeless in Michigan this year,” Wittenberg said in a statement. “This legislation would prevent landlords from discriminating against people whose income comes from veterans’ or other benefits.”
In a statement announcing the bills, House Democrats cited a 2018 report from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness which determined that those without housing grew 3.3% from 2017 to 2018, with more than 65,000 people in the state experiencing homelessness.