To the Editor:

A landlord accountability act is under consideration by Congress to become law. In 2017 this act was presented, but a law was never passed.

This law will help tenants who are recipients of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) aid have a decent and livable home without feeling discriminated against just because they receive assistance.

The main problem is that many times, people discriminate against people because of their socio-economic status. In other words, people who are receive food stamps and Section 8 assistance; they are many times stereotyped as lazy.

Because tenants are aware of this thought pattern from their landlords, they may feel undeserving of the accommodations as a paying tenant and are neglected. They deserve appropriate accommodations.

Some of the accommodations that pose the most issues are proper inspections, maintenance as well as safety issues. Most landlords fail to comply with HUD policies.

Another name for this act is the Fair Housing Act. This is an issue that should raise concern to everyone in and out of our own community. Landlord accountability should be important because many residents have someone they care about who live in or would be living in a HUD home right here in Killeen.

While this issue may affect all of us in Killeen inone way or another, there is help for those who are not equipped or able to advocate for themselves.

This is an act I would like to see passed because I am a former Section 8 recipient. As a former HUD resident of Killeen, I felt dismissed by my landlord and often times, unimportant when making requests of repairs that needed to be done.

I did not feel like I had a voice or an opinion because I was given government assistance. I learned that there is help, and that I did have a voice, as well as rights.

I now wonder how many other residents feel this same way. Tenants can be connected to National Fair Housing Alliance (NHFA), from which the tenant will learn of policies, laws, their rights as well as support.

Other interventions from the social workers can entail empowerment for clients. Through empowerment, tenants can learn how to self-advocate for themselves by speaking up when needed.

Minorities such as Hispanics and African-Americans can be affected by discrimination to a greater extent than other tenants because they are known targets.

Minorities are targets because of the stereotype of them having more than the allotted amount of family members in one unit, lots of children and high rates of criminal activity.

Landlords typically avoid renting and making units available to minorities unless the unit is in somewhat of a destitute area.

Tenants are important, tenants have rights and they deserve to be heard. The number to report abuse, discrimination and neglect of HUD landlords is, 1-800-685-8470/ TTI (800)432-2209.

Tammie Leverett-Beard

Killeen

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