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

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.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.