|Finding affordable housing and dealing with the eviction of long-term senior tenants are among the most difficult problems currently affecting elders and senior centers in the Los Angeles area. Several elements contribute to the current housing crisis for seniors like a shortage of affordable apartments, rising market rate rents and rent control laws.
In Los Angeles , the law prevents landlords from raising rents more than 3% per year until a tenant moves out. The law also allows landlords to evict tenants in order to make repairs of $10,000 or more per unit. It has become increasingly profitable for landlords to consider this option to replace long-term tenants with low rents. A moratorium affecting these evictions is in place since July 2002.
A senior on a fixed income faces great difficulties in finding safe and affordable housing or in relocating after an eviction. Thus, senior low income temporary housing in Los Angeles is difficult. Subsidized housing and federal programs are increasingly challenging to secure and often involve a long waiting list.
The Housing Authority is a federally-funded agency that administers public housing, Section 8, and affordable housing units in the city for qualified low-income families, the disabled and seniors. All housing is provided on a waiting list only. No emergency housing is available. Many of the public housing developments have on-site services such as childcare, computer learning centers, community service centers and recreational facilities.
The Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA) provides various service programs including rent subsidies for low-income residents, seniors and disabled. There is a very long waiting list for some programs.
When a landlord stops participating in a federally subsidized housing program, a senior who has relied for years on federal rent voucher must pay the full rent amount or move out.
We are seeing an increasing number of cases where seniors are being evicted through no fault of their own in an attempt to bring rents to market rates.
A senior who is evicted often has nowhere else to go and becoming homeless is a real fear. A frail elder who has been a model tenant for 30 years, paid the rent on time and never caused trouble can within a few short weeks be out of his or her home.
Often, the senior can no longer afford to stay in the same neighborhood where a support system enabled him or her to live independently. This is a terrifying situation for a strong and competent senior. Without intervention and assistance, a disabled senior may become homeless.
A physically or mentally disabled senior may not be able to use a referral. If you are aware of a frail senior who might become homeless, you are his or her lifeline.
The housing crisis for people with disabilities in Southern California is worsening daily as demand pressures increase and landlords raise rents and option out of federally subsidized programs. Finding affordable and accessible housing is one of the greatest obstacles to independent living for people with significant disabilities. A recent report by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force found that the average cost for an efficiency apartment in Los Angeles was 100% of the current SSI income.
LA City's Department on Disability estimates that only 3% of the rental housing stock in the entire city is accessible.
There is currently no way for people to register or apply for housing programs online or even to locate housing that meets their accessibility needs . LILA has begun mapping those resources, including accessible shelters, SROs and short-term housing and is working with the Los Angeles Housing Department to gather data on accessible, affordable rental housing in the City of Los Angeles and thus attempting to provide s enior low income temporary housing in Los Angeles .