How to Apply for Low Income Housing in Los Angeles

How to Apply for Low Income Housing in Los Angeles
••• house image by Anton Chernenko from

There are several ways for low-income residents of Los Angeles to get reduced rent, also known as subsidized housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a federal agency that offers several subsidized housing programs in Los Angeles. HUD housing in Los Angeles is for the most part administered by Los Angeles City and County.

Income Limits for Low Income Housing

As of 2018, HUD income limits for extremely low income are less than $20,350 per year for a single person and less than $29,050 for a four-person household. The limits for very low income are $33,950 for a single person and $48,450 for a household of four. Low-income limits are $54,250 for a single person and $77,500 for a household of four.

Applying for Public Housing

The Housing Authority of Los Angeles (HACLA) is the public housing agency for the city, managing 14 public housing locations within city limits. These locations consist of nearly 7,000 units set aside for households with very low incomes. The city also manages nearly 3,000 units of privately owned property for low-income rentals.

The average household income among HACLA public housing residents is $2,035 per month, or $24,424 annually. Rent for HACLA public housing is calculated as 30 percent of a household’s adjusted monthly income. The average rent is $455 per month. To apply for low-income housing through the HACLA, an application for public housing can be printed from the HACLA website or obtained by visiting an HACLA office. Completed applications must be submitted by mail to HACLA Application Center.

The Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) is a separate agency operated by Los Angeles County, with nearly 3,000 low-income rental units in 63 locations in the county. Some of these locations are in communities outside the Los Angeles city limits, such as Long Beach, Whittier and Valencia. Applicants can sign up to be on a waiting list for LA County public housing at the HACoLA website.

Applying for Section 8 Housing

The Housing Choice Voucher program, more commonly known as Section 8 in California, is funded by the federal government and administered through local public housing agencies. The subsidized housing provided by this program is not limited to public housing. Those who are issued Section 8 vouchers are responsible for finding a rental unit and landlord who will accept the voucher.

You can apply for Section 8 through either low-income housing authority in Los Angeles, HACLA or HACoLA, but due to overwhelming demand, the application process is frequently closed. HACLA accepted new applications for Section 8 vouchers in 2017 for the first time in 13 years. A lottery was used to pick 20,000 names to add to the waiting list. As of 2019, the Selection 8 waiting lists for both HACLA and HACoLA are closed.

List of Low-Income Apartments for Rent

The website for the Los Angeles County Housing Resource Center provides lists and maps of low-income housing throughout the county, including public housing, Section 8 housing and housing designated for seniors and veterans. In addition to listing the type of voucher required, information about a unit’s size and basic features are provided, along with rent and deposit amounts and lease requirements.

Besides public housing and Section 8 housing, there are other federal, state and local low-income housing programs available in the Los Angeles area. A good way to locate low-income rental programs in cities and communities within Los Angeles County is to visit the local public housing office. To help determine eligibility, you should know the ages and approximate annual income of all members of your household. If you’re looking for low-income housing for a senior relative, check for special housing resources for seniors and veterans.