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Housing and Homelessness

Here's How To Apply For LA's Section 8 Waitlist

A man in a suit and tie speaks from behind a podium. Four other men stand close, looking toward him.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with other housing officials, property owner Matt Sheriff and renter William Patena, at Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.
(Julia Barajas
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The city of Los Angeles has announced that on Oct. 17 it will reopen its waitlist for the Section 8 housing voucher program, which provides federal funding to subsidize rent for low-income tenants.

The application will remain open for 13 days. It’s the first time in five years that the waitlist will reopen.

At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti implored L.A. landlords and managers to consider renting to voucher recipients.

“I know that you see homelessness on our streets,” he said, “I know that you know families that are struggling with housing. Why not step up and be a part of the solution with those units that you have?”

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Matt Sheriff, who owns property in Highland Park and San Pedro, also attended. The two tenants with vouchers that currently live on his property — a retired social worker and a single mom working on a nursing degree — are “the best tenants we’ve ever had,” he said.

A Longstanding Challenge

Finding housing with a Section 8 voucher in the L.A. area has been a longtime challenge — a 2018 study from the Urban Institute found that 76% of landlords in the city refuse to accept Section 8.

William Patena, who was on hand for the announcement, is renting an apartment near the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center using a Section 8 voucher, but he struggled to get housing, he said. Time after time, landlords made up excuses to turn him away after he asked if they took Section 8.

“I felt a lot of anxiety just approaching the question,” he said.

How To Apply For The Waitlist

Anyone interested in a Section 8 voucher must apply this month, even if you were on a previous wait list. Beginning Oct. 17, the application will be available online only at A valid email address is required.

Officials encouraged anyone without internet access to apply at their local public library, where staff are prepared to help with the process. To secure a spot on the waitlist, you'll have to win a lottery. If you manage to get on the waitlist, you'll get a voucher as they become available.

Property owners and managers who are interested in renting to voucher holders can sign up at

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What Are My Odds Of Getting A Voucher?

When the city’s housing authority last opened its waitlist in 2017, nearly 188,000 households applied for 20,000 available spots. Officials said back then about two-thirds of those households secured vouchers.

This time around, officials expect about 365,000 households to apply for just 30,000 available waitlist spots.

What questions do you have about housing in Southern California?

Corrected October 6, 2022 at 8:56 AM PDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated how the lottery works. LAist regrets the error.