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LA County Takes Major Step to Combat Section 8 Discrimination in the Antelope Valley

A Public Counsel lawsuit last year exposed a frightening fact: For years, black and Latino families who are part of the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale faced harassment from officials. Their actions helped turn neighbors against each other and divided the community.

Now Los Angeles County has sent a powerful message to these and other cities: County programs and departments will no longer be used as tools for intimidation and discrimination. 

County Supervisors approved an agreement late Tuesday, January 24, with attorneys representing Antelope Valley residents and the NAACP that takes away many of the tools that have been used to inspire fear in the more than 11,000 Section 8 participants in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale who moved to the area seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

“This agreement sends a strong message that the Antelope Valley is one community and everyone belongs here,” said V. Jesse Smith, a founding member of The Community Action League and Antelope Valley resident. “It’s a powerful call to rebuild trust between neighbors and an important step to healing the divisions in our community.”

“This agreement ends a long nightmare when families who participated in the Section 8 program lived in fear of a knock at the door, and when neighbors saw a dozen sheriff’s deputies next door and started to mistrust families whose children had once played with theirs,” said Catherine Lhamon, director of impact litigation at Public Counsel. “It represents the best of what government can and should do. This is a new day for families in the Antelope Valley and across Los Angeles County.”

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