Los Angeles reopens housing voucher waiting list for Section 8

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

Starting October 17, Angelenos will have two weeks to apply online for a chance to be added to the sweepstakes waiting list. The last time Los Angeles opened the waiting list for Section 8 was in 2017 — nearly 188,000 people applied for just 20,000 coupons.

The federal government currently funds 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, such as California, have Section 8 waiting lists because demand for subsidized housing often exceeds supply.

“We have a lot of vouchers that can be used over a certain period of time before we have to narrow our waiting list down to a certain number, as it takes four, five or six years to issue that voucher and take full advantage of it,” said Doug Guthrie, CEO and President of the Housing Authority. In the city of Los Angeles.

Guthrie said there are 30,000 coupons available, but the city’s housing authority is expecting more than 365,000 new applicants — giving hopefuls a chance to choose one in 10.

Guthrie said those selected will have 180 days to secure the unit before a coupon is returned to the lottery to be handed over to someone else on the waiting list.

Guthrie said that in the current market, tenants have a 70-80% chance of finding suitable housing for Section 8, which is lower than in previous years.

“In the past, it was almost always 80%, and that was only going down because of the lack of affordable housing and the lack of options,” he said.

Tenants selected for vouchers use them to apply for eligible housing, as long as the rent does not exceed the program limits. These limits are determined by a number of factors, such as the size of the beds and the number of bedrooms authorized by the housing authority.

Renters generally don’t put more than 40% of their income into rent, with the voucher program covering the remaining expenses. Currently, only Los Angeles families who meet the “extremely low” and “very low” income criteria for Housing and Urban Development, or income that does not exceed 30% or 50% of median income in the area, will be eligible for vouchers.

Program eligibility is also determined by citizen status, according to the Housing Authority. US citizens, non-citizens with legal immigration status, or mixed families in which at least one person has legal status as an immigrant is eligible for the voucher.

The online application has not yet been launched, but will be made available on the Housing Authority website, at hacla.org. City officials said more details about the application process, how to properly apply and where applicants can seek help filling out their forms will be available on the website by October 4.

It is important to note that while a completed application may put families on a waiting list, this does not guarantee them a voucher, according to the Housing Authority. Applicants will be randomly selected by lottery after the application window closes on October 30.

Guthrie said that all city libraries will provide assistance to applicants.

“It’s a juggling act,” Guthrie said. “We want to make sure we use all of our resources as quickly as we can, and do our best. This is a very valuable resource, and we want to make sure that people can take advantage of it. The possibilities aren’t great, but the rewards can be enormous for someone who really needs help with housing.”