los angeles city hall
Los Angeles City Hall. MyNewsLA.com photo by John Schreiber

More than 600,000 Los Angeles residents desperate to keep up with their rent payments are expected to enter a city lottery to have government money pay a part of their rental costs.

It’s the first time in more than a decade the program will be available, according to an announcement Monday by the Housing Authority of Los Angeles.

Odds aren’t terrific, however, as only about 20,000 lower income residents out of the expected 600,000 hopefuls will win a chance to participate in the “Section 8” federal funding program.

“Angelenos deserve housing they can afford, no matter their income,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “People who are eligible should apply for the Section 8 rental subsidy program — and we’ll keep fighting to build more affordable housing that gives every family the opportunity to find safe, stable places to live.”

The Housing Authority will use a computer-randomized system to select up to 20,000 applicants for placement on the Section 8 waiting list.

The federal Section 8 program provides rental assistance to recipients by paying a portion of their rent directly to their landlords. More than 56,000 households in the city of Los Angeles are currently enrolled, according to Garcetti’s office.

Anyone interested in the program will be able to apply online starting at 6 a.m. on Oct. 16, continuing through 5 p.m. Oct. 29.

“We are very pleased to be opening our Section 8 waiting list after 13 years. Rental subsidy programs reduce poverty, housing instability and homelessness,” said Douglas Guthrie, HACLA’s president and CEO. “We’ve ensured that the online application is easy to access and complete, and we’ve also provided information on the website to assist applicants, such as how-to- apply videos and answers to questions that applicants may have about the program and their eligibility.”

Garcetti called on federal leaders in Washington, D.C., to make new investments in the program, which he said is underfunded. The mayor pointed out that a funding bill recently passed by the House of Representatives would result in the elimination of 140,000 vouchers across the country, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“L.A. is making unprecedented investments in housing and services, because the homelessness crisis demands that we put every possible dollar to work. Washington should meet the urgency of this crisis and increase the number of people who can get help through Section 8,” Garcetti said.

Applicants can visit hacla.hcvlist.org to submit an application.

— City News Service

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