Los Angeles Expects to Turn Away 96 Percent of Subsidized Housing Applicants

Some Los Angeles apartments that probably won't take Section 8 vouchers.Orange County Register via ZUMA

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When Los Angeles opens applications to join its waitlist for subsidized housing vouchers in a couple of weeks, the city’s housing authority expects that it will receive more than 600,000 applications. According to the Los Angeles Times, the waitlist’s capacity is just 20,000, which means that 580,000 of those who apply will be told, more or less, ‘Sorry, better luck next time.’

The lucky 20,000 then stand to wait up to a decade for a voucher to become available. Los Angeles has about 57,000 federally funded Section 8 vouchers in use, and only about 2,400 become available each year as recipients typically start earning more money, move, or die. Many of these vouchers will be set aside for the homeless or particular housing projects, further limiting applicants’ opportunities to escape the waitlist.

The last time LA opened up applications to join its Section 8 voucher waitlist was in 2004, when the city received a comparably light 300,000 applications. 

Though New York and San Francisco are usually cited as the nation’s most expensive housing markets, Los Angeles is generally considered the most country’s most unaffordable. Angelenos typically have lower median incomes than New Yorkers or San Franciscans, and end up devoting a a higher percentage of their monthly income to housing.

A HUD report released in August determined that the majority of Los Angeles’ one million “very poor” households spent more than half of their income on rent, and found a greater share of low income people with inadequate housing in Southern California than in nearly any other major US metropolitan area.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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