(White Plains, NY) -- Westchester County Board Chair Bill Ryan (D-IN-WF, White Plains) announced that the proposed “source of income” legislation, due for a vote at tonight’s Board of Legislators meeting has been sent back to the Committees on Legislation and Government Operations for modification. “Board members are not prepared, at this time,  to vote on this measure,” said Ryan.  “More work needs to be done.” The proposed legislation would modify the County’s Fair Housing Law to prohibit housing discrimination based on an individual’s income sources. 

The measure, first introduced by Legislators Ken Jenkins (D, IN, WF-Yonkers) and Lois Bronz (D, WF-Greenburgh) last spring, has been a frequent topic of discussion in both Jenkins’ committee of Government Operations and the Committee on Legislation over the past year. Legislators heard testimony from over 40 residents, including tenant advocates and real estate industry representatives at a public hearing on May 8th.

As proposed, the law would allow “Source of Income” to become a protected class under Westchester’s Fair Housing Law, and would include any legal, verifiable income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance, including the federal housing subsidy known as “Section 8.” Other provisions of the law include:

  • A six-month delay in implementing the provisions for source of income for new tenants
  • An education requirement to assist the public in understanding Fair Housing regulations
  • Landlord assistance, which includes a website and “hotline” to assist landlords with Section 8 issues  
     

“At the public hearing, we heard testimony from residents on both sides of this contentious issue,” said Jenkins. “I want to make sure that we can come up with a piece of legislation that truly encompasses all the viewpoints expressed by the Westchester residents and legislators.  I’m confident that, through this process of revision and modification, we can agree on legislation that will improve access to quality and affordable housing for all Westchester residents.”