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Glendale opens lottery applications for senior housing subsidy

Mike Van Gorder, a member of the Glendale Tenants Union, speaks alongside renters from southern Cali
Glendale city officials are now accepting applications for a housing subsidy lottery targeting disabled seniors of limited means. Groups like the Glendale Tenants Union, pictured, have argued that rising rents in the city are sending long-term residents packing.
(File Photo)

Disabled senior renters in Glendale struggling to make ends meet can now apply for a monthly housing-subsidy pilot program slated to roll out next year.

After the application period ends on Dec. 12, 1,000 households will be selected through a random lottery to receive $300 a month for two years.

The lottery is expected to be held early next year, with payments following soon thereafter, Glendale city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian said.

“It’s about caring for our senior population,” Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian said earlier this week. “They’re the ones who are in the most need at this time.”

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What’s being billed as the monthly housing-subsidy program, or MHSP, has been in the works since at least February. At the time, Glendale City Council members were in the midst of a months-long discussion on how to address the negative effects of rising area rents on residents.

When details of the program were hammered out in late June, City Council members expressed a desire to implement criteria that would restrict the applicant pool to target what they viewed as the neediest residents.

To qualify for the new program, applicants must be living in Glendale and come from households where all residents are over 62 years old and at least one has a mental or physical disability. Households with at least one resident over 75 years old will be given priority.

Eligibility is further restricted to those earning 30% below the area’s median income, equating to $21,950 total annual income for one person and $25,050 for two.

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Despite the specific criteria, there are expected to be a large number of people vying for the limited aid. Previous housing lotteries for just a handful of affordable rental units have drawn several thousand applications.

“[The need is] going to far outstrip the number of individuals we can help.” Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian said in June. “There’s going to be 1,000 happy people and about 15,000 unhappy people.”

When the pilot program ends in two years, City Council members will consider whether to continue, expand, alter or cut it.

“If it’s a successful program, it will continue,” Gharpetian said earlier this week.

In June, council members set aside $4.2 million of its annual budget to support the first year of the program.

About $3.6 million will be used for direct assistance, said Peter Zovak, Glendale’s assistant director of community development, shortly after the funds were allocated.

A report on the subsidy will likely come back to City Council in August.

Those interested in the subsidy can apply in person at the city’s application center, located at 141 N. Glendale Ave. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. It will be closed on holidays, including Thanksgiving weekend.

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Those unable to apply in person can request a reasonable accommodation through the city’s community development department, which is overseeing the application process.

A valid California I.D. or driver’s license is required to apply.

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