California housing crisis podcast: Will lawmakers ban discrimination against Section 8 tenants?

Construction workers work on Central Park West homes and apartments in Irvine in January.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Landlords in Los Angeles will no longer be allowed to reject prospective tenants from renting apartments simply because they hold Section 8 federal housing vouchers after the City Council passed a measure earlier this year. Now California lawmakers are considering pending legislation that would do the same thing statewide.

On this episode of Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, we speak with state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), the author of Senate Bill 329. Mitchell says her bill is necessary because Section 8 voucher holders face significant discrimination when searching for homes, noting that nearly half the people who received a voucher in Los Angeles had it expire in 2017 before they found a rental. We also speak with researcher Martha Galvez of the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute think tank. She explains the inner workings of Section 8, the federal government’s largest rental assistance program for low-income residents.

Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times Sacramento bureau, and Matt Levin, data and housing reporter for CALmatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Google Play and Overcast.