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When the Government Pays the Rent

By Jillian Wheeler | June 9, 2008

Los Angeles, California, is home to some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.  It’s almost impossible to find a run-down two bedroom house for sale under $350,000, and a modest three bedroom, two bath in good condition runs $500,000 and up (way up), depending on the neighborhood.

Not surprisingly, with home sale prices this high, rents have also skyrocketed.  Many people who work in Los Angeles are forced to live in the suburbs hours away from their jobs, just to be able to afford the rent.

The City of Los Angeles has designed some aggressive programs to support the development of more affordable housing for its citizens.  The Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) operates a Permanent Supportive Housing Program that provides assistance to developers of affordable housing, and the department has also recently instituted an assistance program for families facing possible foreclosure.

One of the most exciting programs, however, both for developers and for residents, is the Project-Based Voucher Program.  This program provides landlords with rental vouchers they can offer residents who qualify.  Vouchers are available both for new construction and for existing complexes.  Under the voucher program, rents are subsidized by the government, which pays the landlord directly.  Property owners are protected from possible loss of rents when residents might otherwise fall behind.

LAHD is also committed to supporting housing that will enhance the qualify of life for residents.  Funded projects must be located convenient to transportation, shopping, and services.  City requirements discourage segregating affordable housing in any specific neighborhoods, as well as facilitating greater integration of ethnic and income groups.  Developers are rewarded for providing amenities to residents.

All over California, municipalities and counties are instituting creative programs to deal with the state’s housing crisis.  Savvy developers and property owners are looking beyond the immediate problems, and learning to take advantage of all the available government grants and loans.

If you are interested in investing in real estate, check out the many affordable housing programs provided by federal, state and local government agencies. To learn more, visit:



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