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Housing In LA Is Expensive. Here Are Resources If You Need Help

A sign advertising apartments for rent hangs outside an apartment building in Highland Park.
A sign advertising apartments for rent hangs outside an apartment building in Highland Park.
(David Wagner
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You don’t need me to tell you how expensive housing is in Los Angeles. Whether you rent and have tried to buy a home, prices have skyrocketed over the last 10 years. But consider this stat: from 2010 to 2019, the city LOST about 111,000 homes that were considered affordable for low-income households.

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Earlier this year, L.A. again opened up the waitlist lottery for its Section 8 voucher program, which helps low-income families and others struggling to find permanent housing. It received over 223,000 applications, but only 30,000 were selected for the program (that receives federal money). And still, people may wait up to 10 years to receive their vouchers.

10 years.

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The last time a lottery for the program took place was in 2017, and some of those folks on that list are still waiting.

The news about the 10-year wait time was a blow to folks who need housing — and need it now. My colleague Julia Barajas spoke to some of the folks impacted by the wait time:

  • Anita Velasquez is a widow and shares a one-bedroom apartment with her two daughters in Downey. “It’s not right,” she says. 
  • Frank Fisher has been unhoused for 14 years and is working toward earning his GED. Having his own place, he said, “would be a big stepping stone to get my life on track. It would be security. It would be amazing.”

Housing Resources

More needs to be done to make housing affordable here. As we wait on that change, we got you (or your friend’s) back. Julia looked up housing resources in Southern California that could help folks secure a home or get assistance with it.

  • Check out the Housing Rights Center’s list of affordable housing in L.A. and Ventura counties. (The nonprofit updates the list every month.)
  • Contact one of The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s nine facilities. The center works to provide housing for homeless youth, as well as affordable housing for seniors
  • Apply for Section 8 housing in other areas, like Riverside County, whose waiting list application will remain open until Dec. 30. (You can apply to as many Section 8 waitlists as you wish, but you can only receive assistance from one agency.) 
This story is part of our new show focusing on stories about L.A., for L.A., by L.A. Listen (and subscribe) to the podcast for more.

You can check out the full list here.

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • The tension was high as the Los Angeles City Council met Tuesday — the first time since five new members were sworn in. Protestors continued to call for councilmember Kevin De León to resign following racist remarks made on a leaked recording and, most recently, an altercation with a activist that was caught on video. Fellow councilmember Nithya Raman also joined the chorus to again demand his resignation. Here’s how De León has responded so far via Twitter and in interviews
  • Drama aside, the L.A. City Council did approve Mayor Karen Bass’s emergency declaration on homelessness Tuesday. Here’s how it went down
  • At a press conference detailing her plans, Mayor Bass said to quickly move people out of encampments and into housing would require "master leasing apartments and motel rooms across the city." But what exactly does "master leasing" mean?
  • People in Los Angeles who list homes on vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo are supposed to follow certain rules, like ONLY listing primary homes. But questions have been raised about whether these rules are enforced.
  • In order to deal with an unusual quandary of not having enough of a quorum to swear in newly elected councilmembers, Mission Viejo’s City Council decided to appoint someone to the group for just 30 minutes to approve the city’s elections results. To understand how we got to this point, read this LAist story here.
  • The City of Glendale is looking for its first ever Poet Laureate who will, among other things, be tasked with engaging residents in poetry reading and writing. The new role is part of an effort by the city to become more of an arts and culture hub in L.A.
  • Walgreens and CVS to pay $10 billion to various states, including California, to settle lawsuits linked to opioid abuse. California is expected to receive about $510 million. 
  • In a major scientific achievement, researchers at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were able to create more energy from fusion than they had at the beginning - a first to produce a reaction that creates more energy than it consumes.  
  • Drug maker Emergent BioSolutions is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell opioid overdose medication Narcan over-the-counter, without a need for a prescription. As fentanyl overdoses rise across the country, Narcan has been successful in reversing the effects.
  • President Joe Biden’s signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies same-sex and interracial marriages into law, shows how he and we, as as a country, have evolved.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

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Wait! One More Thing...

The Murder In A Silver Lake House That Rocked LA In The 1920s

A black and white wide shot of a home from the street on the left. On the right is a view of a woman from the ground up smiling while standing in front of a jail cell's doors.
Exterior view of the Oesterreich's home in Silver Lake circa 1937 (left) and Mrs. Walburga Oesterreich standing in front of a jail cell.
(Courtesy LAPL/LAPL/Herald-Examiner Collection)

The case involves a husband, a wife and their attic in Silver Lake.

Before we get there though, we need to start in Milwaukee. That’s where Dolly Oesterreich and her husband lived before their L.A. move. It’s also where Dolly met a 17-year-old boy named Otto Sanhuber when he repaired her sewing machine. The two became lovers, and it got to a point where Dolly moved Otto into her attic in the Midwest home.

For years, Otto secretly lived in the couple’s home. He would come out of the attic when the husband wasn’t around and would tend to Dolly’s requests. Otto later described himself as Dolly’s sex slave.

Otto would follow them to L.A. and one night, Dolly and her husband fought and Otto became concerned. When police showed up hours later, they found the husband shot three times in the back and Dolly tied up in the closet.

If you want to know what happened, you can read more about this L.A. historic crime here.

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