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This year, we’ve reformed the Index to focus on unhoused youth and young adults (YYA), aligning it with their experiences and policy needs. Shifting from harm reduction to transformative change, some jurisdictions may see lower scores than before. This is a deliberate strategy, not a setback. Lower scores should motivate, not discourage, jurisdictions. They present an opportunity to adopt policies that effectively tackle and prevent youth homelessness, fostering meaningful progress.

Ban on Source-of-Income Discrimination

  • Right to housing

The jurisdiction prohibits source-of-income discrimination, including or specifically in housing

A right to housing requires housing free from all forms of discrimination. Youth and young adults should be able to secure housing regardless of their source of income, age, immigration status, racial or ethnic background, disabilities, body size, gender identity, sexual orientation or family status. Housing should be appropriate for and inclusive of all diverse tenant identities.

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, financing, and advertising of housing based on certain protected characteristics. These include race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) currently interprets the Fair Housing Act’s ban on sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Some jurisdictions have codified protections for LGBTQIA2S+ people to strengthen the federal protections.  

In addition, several jurisdictions and municipalities have laws that protect against discrimination based on other characteristics, including source of income, immigration status, and body size. For example, in New York City, it is illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on their source of income, which includes government subsidies like Section 8 vouchers. Similarly, several cities and jurisdictions have laws that prohibit housing discrimination based on immigration status or body size. These protections are important for ensuring that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing, regardless of their background or circumstances.

“In LA, situations are challenging. Visible and hidden disabilities require safe and adequate spaces for people. There is a feeling that “you should be grateful” for anything. Service providers don’t take much time to ensure housing is low barrier, accessible, and adaptable for each person on a case-by-case scenario.”Theo O.

Key Metric Score Type of Policy Description
1.0 Reform The jurisdiction prohibits discrimination based on source of income including housing vouchers
0.5 Harm Reduction The jurisdiction prohibits discrimination based on source of income except for housing vouchers
0.0 Status Quo No laws found
-0.5 Harmful The jurisdiction prohibits local governments from enacting source of income protections
No Data No Data No Data

Cite: National Homelessness Law Center and True Colors United. ", Ban on Source-of-Income Discrimination" Accessed: June 22, 2024.

Right to Housing

The Index is centered around the fundamental human right to housing. A right to housing is the guarantee that every youth and young adult can access and maintain safe and habitable housing. The elements of a right to housing are:

  1. Security of tenure;
  2. Availability of services;
  3. Affordability;
  4. Accessibility;
  5. Habitability;
  6. Location;
  7. Cultural adequacy. 

“There should always be somewhere for everybody to go. We all should be able to have the housing we need. It shouldn’t be something that you HOPE to get, it should be a given. Build more shelters, build more housing.”K. Livingston

These maps are provided as legal information only and should not be used as legal advice for your specific situation. If you need help with any of the issues described on this website, please check out the Homeless Youth Legal Network (HYLN) directory OR email or call HYLN for help finding a referral to a lawyer.