Bonus Episode: Housing discrimination – one man’s story

Antoine Lynch has a housing voucher that guarantees part of his rent. So why won’t anyone lease him an apartment?

Antoine Lynch is having a hard time finding a place to live. He and his kids have stayed with friends and relatives – even a homeless shelter for a while- but Antoine couldn’t afford the stable home he wanted to provide for his family.

That is, until the DC municipal government provided him with a housing voucher that guaranteed partial payment of his monthly rent. But, when he called around to housing complexes where he wanted to live – apartments that were in neighborhoods with grocery stores, good schools, and low crime rates – the landlords told him they wouldn’t accept his voucher.

Antoine is facing what’s called source of income discrimination, and it’s illegal. DC law prohibits housing discrimination for a whole list of things. In fact, the law provides a much more comprehensive accounting of what’s prohibited as source of income discrimination than the national Fair Housing Act.

Laws against this kind of discrimination are meant to ensure that low-income people are not forced to live in “low opportunity” neighborhoods, but as we see with Antoine’s case, these policies don’t always work. Now Antoine is filing a discrimination complaint with the DC Office of Human Rights, hoping to eventually settle the issue and find that stability he wants.

In this bonus episode of DecodeDC, we take a closer look at Antoine’s story, and how it ties into America’s struggle to provide fair housing for all.

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