Homefront Heroes with Housing Struggles: One Way We Can Empower Veterans and Their Families with Housing Freedom and Fairness

As featured in Inman News.  

Image by Joan Greenman from Pixabay

Did you know that some veterans and their families are being denied housing, not because of sketchy background checks or dismal credit, but simply because they want to use their hard-earned military benefits?

“Vouchers to Nowhere”

Have you ever noticed the rental ads that automatically say, “No vouchers allowed” or something similar?

Well, that excludes a lot of people, including those that are veterans and military families. And, unfortunately, part of the benefits that those that have served as well as their families receive comes in the form of a subsidy, also know as the shamed and shunned housing voucher.

Whether we call it a subsidy or voucher, it all falls under one’s source of income.

Currently, on this map the blue, whether dark or light, represents places that actually have some form of source of income protections. Everywhere else on this map does not shockingly! In many of the places where landlords and other real estate professionals are opposing legislation to protect those that have some form of an income subsidy in order to have housing choice, there is also an affordable housing crisis. That means opting out of income subsidies takes away a lot of housing options for militiary families along with others when and where source of income freedom is not a legal right.

The “Problems” with Vouchers

Protected classes under federal, state and local fair housing laws ensure that people who can legally qualify for a home (whether buying or leasing), are given the freedom of choice, access and opportunity no matter some superficial, tangential line like one’s color, use of an assistive device or if one’s income is sourced by the government through employment or a subsidy. 

Yet, what is protected in one state may not be in others. To that point, source of income protections are not nationwide as some cite the hassle of voucher programs, deepening the affordable housing crisis for many, including some veterans.

Personally, whether I was working in the capacity as a property manager or it was my own properties and I was the landlord, I always loved working with people that had vouchers. One, because you could still do background and credit checks – you still could do what you needed to do make sure they qualify for the home and would take care of the home. And, two, once your property was approved and you signed up for direct deposit, the funds typically hit like clockwork (at least for me in Georgia). Violà!

Yes, it could be a minor hassle to deal with the voucher program’s property inspections but the inspection report and subsequent repair requests typically were the things that anybody living in a home would expect to have in working order. Frankly, I pivoted my thinking to seeing the voucher program’s annual home inspections as a complimentary service that ensured my properties stayed in tip-top shape without my dolling out cash to have my own, separate annual inspection (which we did with properties outside of the voucher program).

Housing Options > Words of Affirmation

Memorial Day is in a few weeks, and I know many of us like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you for your service,” which is nice. But, in addition to words of gratitude and affirmation, it's even more important that our veterans have access to affordable housing choices that accept their hard-earned benefits. 

If you are in a city, county or state that does not have source of income as a protected class generally and veterans/military particularly, then I want to encourage you to contact your local government officials to make this a priority. Goodness knows some of my representatives’ staff knows me by name, ha! You may be pleasantly surprised and discover they are looking for more RE industry voices in favor of fair housing for veterans, as well as others who receive subsidized income.

Dr. Lee Davenport is a real estate coach/educator and author (of including Be a Fair Housing D.E.C.O.D.E.R. and How to Profit with Your Personality). Dr. Lee trains real estate agents around the globe on how to work smarter with their unique personalities and how to “advocate, not alienate,” so everyone has access and opportunity in real estate.

Have you ever needed the “Cliff Notes” version of fair housing? Well, move over Spark Notes!

The Starting Point: How to Be a Fair Housing DECODER Guide https://books.bookfunnel.com/learnwithdrlee

It is available to download for a limited time at no fee. Score!

This condensed workbook (based on the nationally acclaimed workshop) offers Dr. Lee's novel concept of being a Fair Housing DECODER© who skillfully and proactively advocates --not alienates-- for equitable access and opportunity in real estate for EVERYONE.

“Interesting approach on the topic of fair housing that I have not seen offered to Realtors.” --Maria, Broker/Owner, REALTOR® 

I have the Realtor GRI designation and they should make this part of that designation. This is THAT good. THANKS, Dr. Lee!” --Michael, Broker/Owner, REALTOR®

Hurry, download (and share with others) today while complimentary supplies last!

Sound off - I would love to hear from you!  Give me a shout on Instagram and YouTube. Or, get your "training on" with these on-demand classes.  Here's to your success! #LearnWithDrLee

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