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Lottery for Glendale senior housing subsidy set for Friday

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

Glendale will be holding a lottery at the end of the week for a chance to join the city’s housing subsidy pilot program for disabled seniors of limited financial means.

Beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, 1,750 applicants will be selected from a pool of 2,416, from which 1,000 will be qualified to take part in the two-year monthly housing subsidy program, or MHSP, according to Glendale city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian.

Senior households selected will receive $300 a month for up to two years. Payments are expected to start being made this March.

“It’s about caring for our senior population,” Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian said shortly after the application period began in November.

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“They’re the ones who are in the most need at this time,” he added.

The lottery will take place in Room 105 of Glendale’s Municipal Services Building, located at 633 E. Broadway.

It will also be broadcast on the city’s TV station and streamed on the city’s website.

Applicants do not need to be present for the lottery. Results will be mailed out to all applicants, Papazian said.

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Applications were accepted from Nov. 14 to Dec. 12.

To qualify, applicants had to be Glendale renters coming 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 were given priority.

Eligibility was further restricted to those earning 30% below the area’s median income, which is considered very low-income.

It equates to $21,950 total annual income or less for one person and $25,050 for two.

The city is pulling more applications than subsidy slots available to create a waiting list, Papazian said.

That way, if an applicant does not turn out to meet the qualifications or drops out for some reason, city officials can select another household from the waiting list.

During the first week that applications for the housing subsidy were accepted, between 400 and 500 applied per day, said Peter Zovak, Glendale’s assistant director of community development, during a Housing Authority meeting in early December.

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Others showed up but did not apply because they determined they did not meet the requirements, he added.

By Dec. 3, more than 2,000 applications had been received, he said. By the time the application period closed, nearly 2,700 were received.

“There [are] a large number of households that would have a priority of having a member over 75,” Zovak said at the time, adding that they were considering two lotteries.

Over the past 10 years, Glendale has spent less than 5% of its low- and moderate-income housing assets on senior housing.

It is allowed to spend up to 50%, according to Mike Fortney, the city’s principal housing manager.

“So we can spend a considerable amount on senior housing moving forward,” Fortney said during a city presentation in December.

The city has failed to spend the state-required 30% of its assets on extremely low-income housing over the past five years, Fortney said during the same presentation.

The senior-housing subsidy program, in the works since at least last February, was launched as part of an effort to address rising rents in the area that some have said have been pushing long-term residents out of the city.

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Glendale City Councilman Vrej Agajanian said this week the housing subsidy would help those struggling amid the affordable housing crisis plaguing cities across the state but that more needs to be done.

“The city should work harder to create more affordable housing to alleviate the pain and suffering the residents of Glendale are going through,” said Agajanian, who is also the chair of the city’s Housing Authority.

A 66-unit, city-helmed senior housing project called Vista Grande Court is slated to open in mid-February.

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