Up To 600,000 Expected To Apply For Section 8 When Applications Open This Month

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(Photo by Sandy Gonzales via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

When applications to join the waitlist for the City of Los Angeles' Section 8 housing program open later this month, officials expect approximately 600,000 people will apply. Of those 600,000, only about 20,000 will be awarded spots on the voucher waiting list, according to the Los Angeles Times. The rest, for the most part, will be out of luck.

Those who win the lottery, and are awarded a place in line, can look forward to a potentially lengthy wait for housing. Los Angeles has approximately 57,000 Section 8 vouchers in use, and only about 2,400 become available each year.

Consider that the last time the city of Los Angeles opened applications for its Section 8 waitlist was in thirteen years ago, in 2004. The last time applications were open, more than 300,000 people mailed in a request for federal rental assistance vouchers. Housing authority officials expect that many of those who win a spot on the waitlist this year may have to wait up to a decade or more for voucher.

At the same time, there are other factors that could lengthen that wait time even further. Measure HHH, the $1.2 billion bond measure to build homeless housing, will divert about 1,000 Section 8 vouchers from Los Angeles' city housing program for homeless people selected for residency in public housing. Vouchers can also be siphoned off for other needs like, as the Times says, the redevelopment of the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts.

Applications for Section 8 within Los Angeles City will open at 6 a.m. on October 16. They are scheduled to close two weeks later, at 5 p.m. on October 29. On the county level, there is no anticipated date for future applications to join the waitlist.

Related: The Waiting List For Section 8 Vouchers In L.A. County Is 11 Years Long