Community Choice Demonstration

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Community Choice Demonstration

The Community Choice Demonstration helps families with Housing Choice Vouchers find homes in Opportunity Areas in the Los Angeles region. These are neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area that have historically been difficult for families with vouchers to move into, either because they are outside of families’ price ranges, or because property owners are not very familiar with the voucher program. Many families with vouchers want to move into Opportunity Areas because they offer high-quality schools and other public amenities.

Families with vouchers from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) can sign up to be selected for the program. To assist families in moving to Opportunity Areas, families receive pre- and post-move coaching. They also receive housing search assistance and financial assistance to help cover the security deposit and some other move-related expenses.

HACLA has also taken steps to ensure the rental ceiling standard for homes in the Opportunity Areas are affordable for families and competitive for the property owners in the private rental market. Owners who rent to families receive financial incentives, including a lease-up bonus. Program staff work with families and property owners to facilitate good tenant-owner matches and positive relationships between them.

The Los Angeles Community Choice Demonstration is a part of a national demonstration funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The demonstration studies the effect of additional services on families’ ability to move into Opportunity Areas. Families interested in receiving services must sign up for the study and will be randomly selected to receive services. For more information about the national demonstration, go here.

    Services for Families

    Families in the Community Choice Demonstration work with a Coach who will discuss your family’s housing and community needs, develop a family preparation plan, work with you to conduct your housing search, and assist you in contacting property owners.

    We can only assist families in finding homes in designated Opportunity Areas, where children and families are expected to have the best opportunity to thrive.

    Benefits offered:

    • Pre-move support: Help with thinking through which neighborhoods are the best fit for you and your family. The program will also help you get ready to put in applications. That looks different for every family. It might mean attending one or more workshops or getting additional support from one of our partner agencies.
    • Housing search assistance: Help finding properties in Opportunity Areas and owners that are willing to participate in the program.

    • Move-related financial assistance: Help with paying the security deposit and some other move-related expenses.

    • Faster processing: Community Choice staff will help you and the property owner fill out the paperwork and efficiently process it at the Housing Authority.

    • Post-move support: Offered in the form of information and resources about your new neighborhood.

    If you have a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) from HACLA and you are interested in the Community Choice Demonstration, contact community.choice@hacla.org. Make sure that you will qualify for the program by looking at our eligibility guidelines. A number of families on the wait list will also be invited to apply to participate in the Demonstration.

    Property Owners

    The Community Choice Demonstration connects families with Housing Choice Vouchers to property owners who maintain quality housing in Opportunity Areas in Los Angeles where children and families can have the best opportunity to thrive.

    The Housing Choice Voucher program is a federal rental assistance program that helps low-income families find housing in the private rental market. Families with vouchers only pay a portion of their income towards their rent, and the voucher covers the rest. We make sure that the unit will be affordable for the family before reaching out to property owners.

    Find out why property owners love working with the Community Choice Demonstration:

    • Reliable, on-time rent payments: The Housing Authority pays their portion of the rent through direct deposit to your bank account.
    • Lease-up bonus: Property owners who lease up with a Community Choice Demonstration client will receive a bonus in the amount of 50% of one month’s rent.
    • Supported families: Tenants receive coaching to help ensure that they will make a successful transition into their new home and security deposit assistance.
    • Faster processing: Community Choice staff will help you fill out the paperwork and efficiently process it at the Housing Authority.
    • Asset protection: Have peace of mind when you lease-up with a program tenant knowing that you can access a Damage Mitigation Fund of up to $2,000 in the rare event that a tenant leaves their unit damaged.
    • Free listing service: Fill vacancies quickly and save on advertising costs through our exclusive unit list for homes in your area.
    • Rent to a family in need of a home: Families in the program are looking for homes in Opportunity Areas to give their kids the best chances at success. They need property owners, like you, who will give them a chance too.

    List your eligible units today! Not sure if your unit is in an Opportunity Area? Check. For more information, contact community.choice@hacla.org.

    Participating in the Study

    The Community Choice Demonstration includes an independent evaluation—the Community Choice Demonstration study. The goal of the Community Choice Demonstration study is to understand what services and supports help eligible families access neighborhoods that provide good opportunities for parents and their children. A family is considered eligible if they have a Housing Choice Voucher and at least one child aged 17 or under that they consent to have participate in the study.  A number of families from the current HACLA Housing Choice Voucher waitlist are also being invited to participate in the Demonstration.  Participation in the program and study is completely voluntary. To have a chance of being offered services under the program, however, you must agree to participate in the study.

    To help you determine if participating in the Community Choice Demonstration is right for your family, HACLA will invite you to an information session so you can learn more about the study. If you choose to participate, the following will occur:

    You will be asked to answer some questions about yourself and your family such as the names and ages of the people living with you.  HACLA will review a form with you that explains more about the study and the requirements if you decide to participate. If you agree to participate, you will be asked some additional questions about your child’s current school experiences, and your child’s health. You will also be asked to fill out a survey that will ask about your housing situation, your thoughts on moving, your education and employment status, and your health.

    For more information about how you can participate in the study, contact community.choice@hacla.org.

    The study will allow for a better understanding of how to support families with a Housing Choice Voucher in finding housing in Opportunity Areas. Researchers will use information collected from the study to measure whether children in households that receive services and move to new neighborhoods do better in school and earn more money later in life. The study will also measure how well these services help adults in the household.

    To learn about the long-term effects of being offered these services and supports, researchers may collect data about you and your children from different sources for several years.

    You may be asked to participate in future surveys or interviews as researchers study the impacts of the services provided under the Community Choice Demonstration. Your participation in those future study activities is voluntary.

    If you choose to participate, you will be assigned to one of two groups. This assignment will be random, like flipping a coin, to make sure that each family that participates has an equal chance of being placed in either group. Groups will not be decided by any person, rather they will be randomly determined by a computer. The first group will be offered a Housing Choice Voucher and the usual services from HACLA without any additional services. The second group will be offered a Housing Choice Voucher and a set of additional services that will assist them in searching for and moving to housing in specific areas of their choice, called Opportunity Areas.

    Address Locator Tool

    Clients and property owners can use this page to identify if a property is in an Opportunity Area and the highest amount the Housing Authority can pay for a unit in that area* by voucher size. 

    Instructions:

    Under Construction.

    Los Angeles City Map

    *Families with income can afford higher rental amounts. The numbers displayed in the table are for clients with $0 income using average utility allowances. If you think the utilities for the unit might be higher than average, the top rent the family can afford will be lower.