By Johanna Kaiser, Development & Communications Associate

No one who fought for our country should have to fight for a place to live here in Rhode Island. While that may not sound like a controversial stance, some active service members and veterans know first hand that it can be a battle to find housing. In fact, the RI Commission for Human Rights has received complaints about housing discrimination directed at veterans, but the Fair Housing Practices Act gave them no legal recourse to address the issue.

That’s why we joined with many others this legislative session to push for a bill prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of military status and providing protections to any service member in the Armed Forces or veteran with an honorable or general administrative discharge.

Veterans face serious challenges when they return home. Not only must they readjust to a life interrupted by military service, they may face difficulties finding a job and many wrestle with long lasting physical and emotional injuries. With an estimated 49,933 veterans homeless on any given night nationwide, no one should be making it harder for them to find a place to live. 

There is no legitimate basis to deny someone housing or treat them in a discriminatory manner solely because of their status as a veteran. That someone would be denied a basic necessity solely because they served our country is deeply troubling. Fortunately, as we celebrated Independence Day this week, we were also able to celebrate passage of this legislation protecting veteran and service members from discrimination in housing. The bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.