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Housing and Homelessness

There Are 30,000 Waitlist Spots For Section 8 Housing In LA. So Far 180,000 Have Applied

A "For Rent" sign on a building Hollywood, Calif. There is a palm tree in the background against a bright blue sky.
A "For Rent" sign is seen on a building Hollywood.
(Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
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Since reopening its lottery last week, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles has received over 180,000 applications for Section 8 housing vouchers — for just 30,000 waitlist spots.

Doug Guthrie, the housing authority’s president and CEO, said the number reflects the severity of the region’s housing crisis. “We made it as easy as possible, and we did as much outreach as we possibly could in multiple languages,” he said. “So I hope everybody takes the opportunity to at least make an application for this assistance.”

Why it matters: Section 8 vouchers provide federal funding to subsidize rents for low-income tenants. Tenants use these vouchers to pay for an apartment on the private market. According to an LAist review of city records, Los Angeles has lost eight times more housing than it has gained for its lowest income residents. The region’s latest homeless count, released in September, found that more than 69,000 people are unhoused in L.A. County on any given night.

The details: Once the application period closes, the housing authority will randomly select 30,000 applicants for the waitlist. Applying early or more than once does not increase your chances of being selected.

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It’s not too late to apply. The application period for the lottery closes Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. To apply, visit the housing authority’s website.

Still have questions? We’re answering reader questions on Section 8. You can get help or ask a question here.

The backstory: The last time the lottery opened — back in October 2017 — nearly 188,000 households applied for 20,000 available spots.

What's next: Guthrie said the agency will soon be able to provide a 9-10% increase in monthly rent payments. (For instance, instead of providing $1,900 for a one-bedroom apartment, the Section 8 voucher could cover $2,100.)

Go deeper: LA’s Section 8 Waitlist Lottery Is Now Open. Here’s What To Know Before You Apply