Southern California Woman Struggles with Homelessness as Section 8 Housing Waitlist Persists


At almost 72 years old, Cleaver is not only showcasing her car but also her bedroom.

 Struggles with Homelessness
Struggles with Homelessness ( Photo: The Washington Post )

Stephanie Cleaver, a retired property manager, finds herself in an unfortunate situation in Southern California

Homelessness has become a reality for her, with no place of her own except when she can stay with her son or daughter. Cleaver’s troubles began when she lost her partner years ago and could no longer afford the rent, resulting in the loss of her apartment. Currently, she relies on around $1,200 per month from Social Security and whatever income she can generate from recycling. However, this is insufficient to secure stable housing.

Back in September 2015, Cleaver applied for government-subsidized housing through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program in Redondo Beach. She discovered she had over 1,000 people ahead of her on the waiting list. Despite seven years passing, she has only moved up a few hundred spots, currently holding the position of approximately 700.

Desperate for affordable housing, Cleaver stated, “I’d get on anything just to get my own place that I can afford.”

However, Redondo Beach Housing Authority officials declined an interview request but revealed via email that the city’s Section 8 waitlist had reduced from over 4,000 families at the beginning of 2022 to just under 1,200.

Data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) highlights that the average wait time for the Housing Choice Voucher program in Redondo Beach was roughly two and a half years by the end of 2022. This aligns with wait times in the broader Los Angeles metro area, encompassing Los Angeles and Orange counties, where people typically wait over two years for Section 8 housing, according to recent HUD figures. It’s worth noting that the demand for public and subsidized housing extends beyond Los Angeles. In cities like New York, the wait time approaches four years, while Miami residents wait around three and a half years. In Chicago and Dallas, the average wait for a Section 8 voucher is approximately two years.

Stephanie Cleaver’s story sheds light on the ongoing housing crisis in Southern California, where the wait for affordable housing remains lengthy, leaving vulnerable individuals like Cleaver struggling to find stable homes despite their best efforts.


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