Los Angeles

Section 8 Vouchers Provide Housing Hope for Many Seniors

"There are a lot of seniors out there that need help. Most of them, they're afraid to ask for it."

They are a growing part of the population, but many older citizens can barely pay rent.

That's why many are viewing Section 8 vouchers as their most viable way of getting housing. There are 20,000 spots available, but time is running out to apply.

Mel Weiss, 82, had high hopes as he showed up to apply for the Los Angeles Housing Authority's voucher assistance program. "There are a lot of seniors out there that need help," he said. "Most of them, they're afraid to ask for it."

Carlos VanNatter, who works at the LA Housing Authority, said many of the applicants are low-income people who are paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, staying with family or living on the streets.

Weiss lives in a senior living apartment where he says rent is "good, not best." "Like everyone, I'm trying to find a place that's a little less expensive so I have a little more pocket money at the end of the month," Weiss said.

For him and others applying for the vouchers, the deadline is fast approaching. The cutoff is Sunday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. Those applying can do so online at hacla.org or over the phone by calling 1-888-816-6955.

Those who are selected will get a voucher to help them find an apartment with the city subsidizing the rent thanks to federal funds.

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