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Home | Newsroom | Housing | Housing Search With a Voucher Is Difficult in Los Angeles County. A Homeless Student Received Aid for an Apartment. Then Came the Hard Part.

Housing Search With a Voucher Is Difficult in Los Angeles County. A Homeless Student Received Aid for an Apartment. Then Came the Hard Part.

LOS ANGELES — Many of the apartment listings were outdated or offered scant details. Sometimes the rent was a few hundred dollars higher than advertised.

If she managed to get someone on the phone, Jacqueline Benitez would inquire about square footage, about parking, about whether the landlord might accept a rescue tabby named Kiwi.

But when she brought up her housing voucher, the tone would usually shift.

“They would say, ‘No, we do not accept Section 8, sorry.’ Or, ‘We tried Section 8 in the past, and it didn’t work for us,’” Ms. Benitez said, referring to the commonly used term for the vouchers. At 21 years old, she had found herself stuck in a loop of hope and rejection.

Landing an apartment in Los Angeles County can be an arduous journey in a region struggling with a housing shortage and homelessness crisis, where even those with steady middle-class salaries have found themselves in a rat race for a home.

For the impoverished, the search can feel ultimately impossible.

“Are you going to interrupt your search to fight every landlord who says, ‘I’m not going to rent to you because you have Section 8?’” said Nisha Vyas, an attorney with the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “It’s more likely you’re going to keep trying to find someone who’s going to say yes.”