Los Angeles to reopen Section 8 housing voucher waiting list

The City of Los Angeles will reopen the waiting list for its Section 8 housing credit program for the first time in five years.

Beginning October 17, Angelenos has two weeks to submit an application online to be placed on a lottery waiting list. The last time Los Angeles opened its Section 8 waitlist was in 2017 — and nearly 188,000 people applied for just 20,000 available vouchers.

The federal government is currently funding more than 2 million Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for low-income renters, making it the largest rental assistance program in the country. Many states, like California, have Section 8 waiting lists because demand for public housing often exceeds supply.

“We only have so many coupons that can be used over a period of time before we have to narrow down a waitlist to a certain number, taking four, five, six years for that coupon allocation to be fully issued and used,” said Doug Guthrie, executive director and president of the City of Los Angeles Housing Authority.

Guthrie said there are 30,000 vouchers available, but the city’s housing authority expects more than 365,000 new applicants – giving the hopeful a 1 in 10 chance of being selected.

Guthrie said those selected have 180 days to secure a unit before their voucher is returned to the lottery to give to someone else on the waitlist.

In the current market, renters have a 70-80 percent chance of finding suitable Section 8 housing, lower than in previous years, Guthrie said.

“In the past it’s almost always been 80%, and that’s only gone down because of the lack of affordable housing and options available,” he said.

Tenants who are selected for vouchers use them to apply for qualifying housing as long as the rent does not exceed the program limits. These limits are determined by a number of factors such as: B. Family size and the number of bedrooms approved by the housing authority.

Tenants typically spend no more than 40% of their income on rent, with the voucher program covering the remaining expenses. Currently, only LA families who meet the “extremely low” and “very low” income standards of residential and urban development, or whose income does not exceed 30% or 50% of the area’s median income, qualify for vouchers.

Program eligibility is also determined by citizen status, according to the housing authority. US citizens, legal immigrant non-citizens, or mixed households in which at least one person has legal immigrant status qualify for the voucher.

The online application has not yet started but will be made available on the housing authority’s website at hacla.org. City officials said more details about the application process, how to properly submit an application and where applicants can seek help completing their forms will be available on the website by October 4.

It’s important to note that while a completed application can put families on the waitlist, it doesn’t guarantee them a voucher, according to the housing authority. Applicants will be selected by lottery after the application window closes on October 30th.

Guthrie said all city libraries will provide support to applicants.

“It’s a juggling act,” Guthrie said. “We want to make sure we use all of our resources as quickly as possible and do our best. This is a very valuable resource and we want to be sure people can benefit from it. The odds aren’t great, but the rewards can be tremendous for someone who really needs housing assistance.”

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-22/section-8-housing-voucher-waiting-list-los-angeles-how-to-apply Los Angeles to reopen Section 8 housing voucher waiting list

Alley Einstein

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