Do you support Baltimore County's federal housing consent decree? In particular, do you support a prohibition on rental discrimination against those who use federal housing vouchers?
Mitchell-Strong: I cannot support the prejudging and denying services based on age, gender, sexual orientation, race, or the use of a voucher to pay a portion of rent. As Atticus Finch tells Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” For some, the words housing vouchers can evoke fear, resentment and instability. For others, those same words can evoke hope, opportunity, and stability. There is a massive lack of affordable housing available in the U.S. This, not the vouchers are the issue. Stable, affordable housing is a platform for health, education, jobs, and strong communities. These vouchers exist simply to cover a portion of rent thereby moving a person or a family from a position of instability to stability. A voucher doesn’t tell you about a person’s values, ideals, moral compass, or judgement. It does indicate that the holder is determined to build a better life for themselves and in doing so, a better community as a whole. It’s disingenuous to claim America is the land of opportunity celebrating only the exceptions to the rule, the one in a thousand success, while the true story of the 999 stays hidden in the shadows. To flip the odds, barriers to opportunity need to be removed. Until more affordable housing is made available, these vouchers serve as a pipeline to prosperity - which is the essence of the American Dream.