California Housing Vouchers

California Housing Vouchers * Public Housing

Keep Your Home California * Making Home Affordable

California Housing Choice Vouchers – Section 8 Housing

Section 8 Housing Program is HUD-funded rental assistance designed to help low-income individuals, families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. Section 8 Housing provides the qualifying low-income population with affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market where the program is available.

California Housing Vouchers and Section 8 Housing program for California is administered by local Public Housing Agencies (PHA). The California Housing Vouchers help eligible individuals, and families, broaden their housing options in the private rental market. Find more about Section 8 Housing Programs and Housing Choice Vouchers.

In California, each local Public Housing Authority administers Section 8 California Housing Choice Vouchers for its designated area. The part of HUD Section 8 Program that offers Housing Choice Vouchers is also known as Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA). Under Section 8 TBRA local California Public Housing Authorities offer vouchers for more than 317 thousand Section 8 housing units across the state. The local PHA’s are solely responsible for all the Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers eligibility and program administration.

Normally, there is a waiting list and the applications for the Section 8 Vouchers are taken periodically at a time determined by the local Public Housing Authority. The open period for taking Section 8 applications is usually advertised in the local newspaper two weeks prior to starting acceptance of applications, and all related social service agencies are notified. As most PHA have very long waiting lists, you may want to apply at more than one PHA. The PHA can also give you a list of locations at which your voucher can be used.

When the waiting list is open, completed applications are accepted from all applicants. The Housing Authority will then verify the information in each application relevant to the applicant’s eligibility, admission, and benefits level.

Eligible Section 8 applicants can select housing within a neighborhood of their choice from a property owner willing to participate in the Section 8 program. TBRA contracts must have a minimum lease of one year and cannot exceed two years – but they can be renewed. Choices of housing units may include the family’s present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety as determined by the local Housing Authority. The rents in HOME assisted units must be affordable to low-income families and remain affordable for a designated amount of time.

Section 8 Program in California, as in other States, allows families to pay a predetermined share of their income toward the rent while issued California Housing Vouchers make up the difference. The program does not pay for security deposits and moving expenses. The tenant is responsible for paying for any utilities not included in the rent according to the lease.

Income eligibility limits and benefit levels are based on local median income and local housing costs but are set largely at the federal level with limited local discretion. Income requirements are generally set as less than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) but can be up to 80% in some cases. By law, seventy-five percent of the newly issued vouchers must go to families with incomes below 30% of the Area Median Income.

Current recipients of California Housing Vouchers maintain their vouchers until their income reaches a level at which the value of their housing subsidy is reduced to $0.00 – all housing subsidies are calculated based on family income, housing costs, and other factors.

For specifics on eligibility for each Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher please, check with your local California Public Housing Authority.

Search Section 8 listed rentals in California here


Project-Based Rental Assistance

Project-Based Rental Assistance normally pays all rent that is left after eligible tenants contribute 30% of their adjusted annual income toward the rent. This is for Project-Based Rental units in specific buildings designated as Section 8 and subsidized by the Federal Government with the main purpose to provide affordable housing for low-income families. The California Housing Finance Agency promotes affordable housing opportunities for this program by providing Project Based Contract Administration on behalf of HUD. The Project-Based Contract Administration involves over 57,000 units throughout the state of California. Applications are accepted, and waiting lists are maintained at each housing site. CalHFA processes monthly tenant and voucher requirements, payments, performs a physical site inspection and responds to tenant complaints related to each California Project-Based Rental Assistance project. The populations served are households that are extremely low income with income up to 50% of the Area Median Income. HUD establishes and publishes the income parameters annually.

California Low-Rent Apartments

Find more and search for California subsidized and low-rent apartments here.