While many refuse to take housing vouchers, Long Beach aims to educate landlords • Long Beach Post News


Housing Choice Vouchers are issued under the federal government’s Section 8 program to very low-income households to help cover their monthly rent through grants paid directly to landlords. In Long Beach, the value of these vouchers is calculated based on the zip code of the rented unit and the number of bedrooms it has. For the current fiscal year, voucher values ​​range from $1,595 for a one-bedroom unit in West, Central, or North Long Beach to $2,334 for a unit in Southeast Long Beach. Beach.

City officials tried to point out that vouchers mean guaranteed money for landlords each month, and they even offered to pay for empty units if landlords kept them open to people with vouchers, but he always been difficult to pair people with units.

With this issue as a backdrop, board member Suzie Price will host a workshop for homeowners on August 12 at her office near the Colorado Lagoon. There, landlords can meet with city housing officials who will explain how housing vouchers work and the process for accepting these tenants.

Price said the idea to host the workshop came from conversations she had with landlords who expressed concerns that it is difficult to work with the city or that they might somehow so lose some property rights if they accepted voucher tenants.

“I think it’s important to debunk some myths, which is what we did with Motel 6,” Price said, referring to a new supportive housing project at a motel in his neighborhood.

Los Angeles County purchased Motel 6 as part of the Homekey project and turned it into supportive housing for homeless people. Price held community meetings before the project so that site operators could respond directly to questions from the community.

She doesn’t know how many people will show up for the voucher workshop, but Price hopes that having landlords in the same room as representatives from the city’s Housing Authority, which oversees the voucher program good, can help to house some people.

“It’s not so much how many people show up as how many doors they manage,” Price said, noting that people sometimes manage multiple properties.

Right now, Price says, the focus should be on creating affordable housing using existing units, such as secondary suites and apartments, instead of waiting for new construction that could take years.

John Edmond, executive director of the California Southern Cities Apartment Association, said landlords are interested in Section 8 vouchers, but current eviction moratoriums may discourage them. A general distrust of government and a view that the process is complicated breeds reluctance, Edmond said, but there is a bigger problem on the minds of owners.

An extension of a countywide eviction moratorium earlier this year made lower-income tenants the most protected and barred landlords from evicting them until at least June 2023. where they take on a new tenant that they may not be able to evict if something goes wrong.

“Every day is more and more complicated for what the rules are because there are many levels of government in this space,” Edmond said.

Long Beach’s annual homelessness count was taken in February and results shared last month showed a 62% increase in the number of people experiencing some form of homelessness in the city, with around 700 more people living in the street compared to 2020.

Health Department officials said about 400 people currently homeless have housing vouchers that could help pay their monthly rents, but the city has so far failed to match them with a willing landlord. to rent them accommodation.

These vouchers are usually valid for 90 days, but can be extended up to 270 days to give the person time to find a unit that will accept them. After that, they might have to reapply and possibly go on a waiting list.

The workshop for owners will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on August 12 at Price’s field office at 340 Nieto Avenue. No RSVP necessary.

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