L.A. Stopped Accepting ‘Section 8’ Applications More Than a Decade Ago, That Changes Monday

October 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It has been more than a decade since the city of Los Angeles stopped accepting applications for Section 8 housing vouchers, but that’s about to change Monday when the city opens its waitlist for the popular but extremely hard to get rental subsidy program.

With rents continuing to skyrocket in the city, the federally funded vouchers are highly sought after. Under the program, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles pays up to 70% of a tenant’s rent, provided the tenant meets all eligibility requirements. All rental subsidies are paid directly to the landlord.

The window for applying however is short, and can only be done online. There are only 20,000 slots available, but according to the Los Angeles Times, as many as 600,000 applications are anticipated.

The local Section 8 voucher program is administered by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), which will begin accepting applications at 6 a.m. Oct. 16; the deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Oct. 29.

Section 8 currently supports more than 56,000 households in Los Angeles, and an estimated 18,600 Angelenos living in Section 8 housing are formerly homeless, said Mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement announcing the reopening of the application process. Nationally, about five million Americans use Section 8 each year.

Because there are so many applicants and so few slots, a lottery will be held to decide which applicants make it onto the Housing Authority’s waitlist, from which potential recipients are drawn when vouchers become available. According to housing officials, only about 2,400 vouchers are available each year, and those usually only become available when someone dies or income becomes higher than the program allows.

Making it on to the waitlist in no way guarantees the applicant will receive a voucher, and for those that do, the wait could be a decade or longer.

To be eligible, the applicant must be very low-income, earning no more than $36,000 for a family of two or $45,050 for a family of four. Three quarters of the vouchers that do become available, however, are likely to go to tenants classified as “extremely low-income,” meaning $21,650 for a family of two or $27,050 for a family of four.

Saying the program is underfunded, Garcetti has called on the federal government to “make bold new investments” to the Section 8 program.

“Everyone deserves to live in a place they can afford. And for tens of thousands of Angelenos, Section 8 can mean the difference between sleeping in safe homes at night and suffering in desperation on the street,” said Garcetti. “L.A. is making unprecedented investments in housing and services, because the homelessness crisis demands that we put every possible dollar to work. Washington should meet the urgency of this crisis and increase the number of people who can get help through Section 8.”

You can access the application by going to HACLA.hcvlist.org. Applications can only be submitted online and are not available at HACLA locations, nor will those locations provide internet access.

During the two-week open application period, all 73 Los Angeles City Public Libraries will provide free internet access as well as assistance with setting up e-mail accounts and accessing the application, according to the Housing authority. A map of the libraries offering free internet access and assistance can be accessed by clicking here: https://hacla.hcvlist.org/Home/ResourceList.




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