Registration for Section 8 will open in LA for first time in 13 years

Analysts expect as much as 600,000 people to apply

Oct.October 03, 2017 05:45 PM
Jordan Downs housing project (Getty Images)

For the first time since 2004, Los Angeles housing officials will open a two-week online registration period for applicants seeking federal rental subsidies.

Analysts expect up to 600,000 people to apply for Section 8 vouchers during the period, which begins Oct. 16, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Officials will start by screening out ineligible applicants who neither live or work in L.A.

To be eligible for housing in Los Angeles, applicants must also meet the government definition of “very low income” and earn no more than $31,550 for an individual.

A lottery will then choose 20,000 for the new Section 8 waiting list. But even those chosen could wait for up to a decade to receive the subsidized housing due to the scarcity of resources. The waitlist will have to compete with homeless applicants who qualify for the same vouchers as part of a separate program funded by Proposition HHH. Other projects, such as the redevelopment of the Jordan Downs housing, could claim some vouchers, as well. Only about half of the vouchers that become available each year will go to people on the new list.

When housing officials last opened Section 8 registration 13 years ago, 300,000 mail-in applicants were placed on a waitlist. There are 35,000 people on that list who are still waiting.

Roughly 57,000 vouchers are in use today and only 2,400 become available each year.

Voucher recipients pay 30 percent of their income as rent while the Housing Authority pays the rest. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development then reimburses the local government.

The registration comes on the heels of a recent legislative push for affordable housing reformation. On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of legislation meant to curb the housing affordability issues plaguing the state. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman

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