HACLA Response to LA Times Article July 25, 2022
“L.A. gives them housing vouchers they can’t use”
LOS ANGELES – We are providing the following comments regarding the information which has been circulating lately regarding the issuance of Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) throughout Los Angeles, and the Greater Los Angeles area, and what that means for housing the homeless population. Due to the complicated and layered nature of a challenging rental market during a pandemic, it is easy to misconstrue the facts. HACLA is working hard to provide resources to assist with housing the homeless population and would like to clarify some key points.
The recent LA Times article didn’t fully represent the status of the EHV program and the progress that has been made to date. HACLA has already issued the full allocation of 3,365 vouchers since the program was awarded in July 2021. The deadline for issuing the vouchers under the American Rescue Plan is September 30, 2023, placing HACLAs issuance over a year ahead of the anticipated timeline. As of July 22, HACLA has leased 325 housing units (approximately 10%) and is processing an additional 422 move-in contracts, taking the utilization to approximately 22% percent. This represents 747 units leased or in process of being leased. Nationwide, EHVs are at 38.6% lease up, while in California 28.8% of the vouchers are currently utilized. Although there remains much work to be done, it is important to note that no two programs are alike. Factors to consider are:
- Communities can prioritize target populations. In Los Angeles, priority has been given to individuals currently experiencing homelessness over those who were recently homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. This population of voucher holders requires intense case management to be successful in their housing search.
- All referrals from this program come from the Los Angeles Continuum of Care led by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and its partners. They are tasked with providing case management and housing navigation for multiple programs, and housing resources for thousands of individuals.
- Landlord incentives and housing search assistance are not identical. HACLA is providing both.
- It is an historically tight rental market in Los Angeles.
- This represents the largest number of voucher holders seeking housing at one time and are competing for the limited number of existing affordable rental units. HACLA currently has over 4,000 voucher holders seeking housing (across various HUD rental subsidy programs). This an all-time high. The County also has over 3,000 voucher holders searching for housing in the same market bringing the total voucher holders in search of housing in Los Angeles County to 7,000.
The American Rescue Plan states that, “the Secretary may revoke and redistribute any unleased vouchers and associated funds” upon failure to lease vouchers “within a reasonable period of time.” A reasonable period of time is yet to be determined and may vary across the country.
HACLA, along with its partners, has made enormous progress in the administration of a challenging program in an equally challenging housing market in Los Angeles. But housing the homeless is a joint effort. As mentioned by HACLA President & CEO Doug Guthrie in a recent press release, the issuance of these vouchers “is only the beginning. The most important work begins now to help those voucher holders find available housing and enter into leases. We are relying heavily on landlords and property owners to join us in this fight to house our unhoused neighbors and get them off the streets.”
The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) was established in 1938 by City of Los Angeles Resolution No. 1241. HACLA is one of the nation’s largest and leading public housing authorities, providing the largest supply of quality affordable housing to residents of the City of Los Angeles. HACLA provides affordable housing to over 83,000 households in its Public Housing and Section 8 departments, and offers a range of permanent supportive housing programs for homeless households, including: Project-Based, HUD – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, Homeless, Tenant Based Supportive Housing, Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA), Continuum of Care and Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program. For more information, visit www.hacla.org.
Eric Brown, Director, Intergovernmental & Media Relations
Courtney Gladney, Media & Marketing Specialist