Kimberly Dominique lived in her car for months before she finally found a landlord who accepted her Section 8 voucher. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that bars landlords from refusing to consider tenants who pay rent through Section 8, the federal subsidy program for low-income households.

In California, it’s already illegal to deny housing based on someone’s source of income, though the definition of income doesn’t include the federal housing voucher program. In a 15-0 vote, the City Council changed that definition and extended protections against source-of-income discrimination to people who pay rent through Section 8 vouchers and other subsidies.

Housing advocates say the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2020, was needed because Section 8 bans are often used as a proxy to discriminate by race or class, and research has shown landlord acceptance rates are higher in places that have the ordinances.

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