Pinoys line up for low-income housing in LA

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jul 17 2013 12:41 PM | Updated as of Jul 17 2013 08:41 PM

LOS ANGELES – Some 900 low-income Los Angeles residents lined up for a chance to live at a newly-built apartment building named after a Filipino-American hero and owned by a Filipino non-profit.

The Pilipino Workers Center (PWC), which assists low income workers, is almost complete with the construction of its "Larry Itliong Village".

It will not only house the organization but also 66 apartment units, 44 of them for low-income individuals and families.

“We know there are thousands (who need homes) and there is a housing backlogs here in LA but it’s only one attempt and we need to make sure it is available for whoever needs it. If you feel you are low-income then you apply,” said Lolit Andrada Lledo, the associate director of the PWC.

Many waited in line as early as 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning for a chance to lease apartments for as low as $300 a month, depending on income.

“I’ve been trying to get my family and I out of a shelter and into an apartment,” explained Cynthia Lainey, the first person to line up.

“Aside from it being low-cost you will be around the facility of people like Filipinos and you will be having lots of friends,” added caregiver Josie Sebastian.

Applicants can still pick up an application by contacting the PWC, and have until the end of the week to submit their paperwork before housing officials hold a lottery.

To qualify, prospective tenants must earn less than half of Los Angeles county’s poverty level guidelines; $29,000 for an individual, and about $41,400 for a family of 4.

"With thousands of people applying, the best way to ensure that there's equality and no discrimination and no favoritism is to do a lottery," said Lledo.

After the application it will be mostly luck as applicants are picked through a lottery. There will be no screening of applications prior to the lottery and those picked must undergo a credit and criminal check, and an interview with the city’s housing department before they’re allowed to rent at the Larry Itliong Village.

The building is scheduled to be completed by the end of September with the new tenants moving in as early as October.