LA County

LA Father Says Even With Section 8, It's a Struggle to Find Housing

A father says that even though he's approved for subsidized rent available through the Section 8 program, he and his 15-year-old have been looking for a place to stay for seven months, and the motivation for property renters just ins't there.

Los Angeles County is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. It's also experiencing a growing homeless population.

All those factors have led John Mayorga and his 15-year-old son to live in homeless shelters for the past four years.

"The cost of living, the cost of rent, the cost of having a child," Mayorga said. "Single parents understand what other single parents go through, and I'm not proud of being homeless. It's kind of embarrassing but I'm not the only one."

While subsidized rent is available through the Section 8 program, the demand far outweighs the supply. More than 37,000 families are on waiting lists for Section 8 housing. Moyarga and his 15-year-old have been looking for seven months.

"I get told no, or I get told we have a two-year waiting list, so like 2021, 2022 -- you're going to give me a call?" he said.

In an effort to reduce the wait time, LA County started the Homeless Incentive Program, which provides incentives for property owners, including up to one month's rent, to hold units open for homeless families and individuals.

"I wish everyone would have an equal chance," he said.

Giving his son a chance at a better life is Mayorga's goal. He says he tries to keep him positive and focused on school. Having a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has helped his son, but he admits it's tough not to be able to provide a permanent home.

"I try to motivate him, keep him in high spirits, keep him happy, give him good stories, but then my son is like, 'Yeah right, dad,'" he said.

Losing hope, Mayorga says, is not an option, as his housing search continues.

Since the Homeless Incentive Program started, more than 2,700 families have been helped but 37,000 remain on the waiting list.

Contact Us