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Programs (Vouchers)

Program Descriptions

Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance

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The Housing Authority provides two basic types of rental assistance. The largest program is the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. The applicant receives a Housing Choice Voucher once they have met all eligibility requirements. 

The program participant can select an appropriate rental unit (house or apartment) and live where they wish.

The unit that is selected must:

  • Meet housing quality standards
  • Must have an appropriate number of bedrooms
  • The rent must be reasonable with regard to current market rents
  • Must also be affordable to the participant.

The participant pays part of the rent and the Housing Authority pays part of the rent. The participant pays between 30 and 40 percent of their monthly income for rent. Depending on the income of the family, the Housing Authority may pay all or a very small portion of the rent. 

The two examples listed below are for the same family size with only income differences. There are adjustment factors to the income that will not be discussed in these examples. All of the information below are examples only and are not to be considered as actual amounts.

Example One:

  • Mother and two minor children
  • Mother’s income is $6.25/hour 20 hrs per week
  • The rent on a two-bedroom apartment is $625 with the tenant paying gas and electricity. The tenant would pay $94 per month to the landlord
  • The Housing Authority would pay $531 per month to the landlord.

Example Two:

  • Mother and two minor children
  • Mother’s income is $10.00/hr 40 hours per week.
  • The rent on a two-bedroom apartment is $625 with the tenant paying gas and electricity. The tenant would pay $451 per month to the landlord.
  • The Housing Authority would pay $174 per month to the landlord.

The amount of rent is limited because the participant may not pay over 40 percent of their adjusted income toward rent and utilities. If the tenant’s share exceeds 40 percent on a specific unit, the Housing Authority would not approve the lease. 

The same two examples of different income levels for the same family composition will be used.

Maximum rent levels

Example One:

  • Mother and two minor children
  • Mother’s income is $6.25/hour 20 hrs per week (adjusted annual income is $5,540) The maximum rent that could be allowed would be $684

Example Two:

  • Mother and two minor children
  • Mother’s income is $10.00/hr 40 hours per week (adjusted annual income is $19,840) The maximum rent that could be allowed would be $803

Both rent maximums would only be allowed if a market analysis indicated the rents were reasonable and the unit passed the Housing Authority inspection. 

Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Section 8 rental voucher program provides rental assistance to help very low income families afford decent, safe, and sanitary rental housing.

These programs are administered by local public housing agencies (PHAs) authorized under State law to operate housing programs within an area or jurisdiction. The PHA accepts the application for rental assistance, selects the applicant for admission, and issues the selected family a rental voucher confirming the family’s eligibility for assistance.

The family must then find and lease a dwelling unit suitable to the family's needs and desires in the private rental market. The PHA pays the owner a portion of the rent (a housing assistance payment (HAP)) on behalf of the family. 

Program Procedures
The subsidies provided by the rental voucher a program are considered tenant-based subsidies because when an assisted family moves out of a unit leased under the program, the assistance contract with the owner terminates and the family may move to another unit with continued rental assistance (24 CFR section 982.1). HUD enters into annual contributions contracts (ACCs) with PHAs under which HUD provides funds to the PHAs to administer the programs locally. The PHAs enter into HAP contracts with private owners who lease their units to assisted families (24 CFR section 982.151). In the tenant-based Section 8 programs, the PHA verifies a family's eligibility (including income eligibility) and then issues the family a voucher.

The family generally has 60 days to locate a rental unit where the landlord agrees to participate in the program. The PHA determines whether the unit meets housing quality standards (HQS). If the PHA approves a family's unit and lease, the PHA contracts with the owner to make HAPs on behalf of the family. The PHA may not approve a lease unless the rent is reasonable (24 CFR section 982.1(a)(2)). Under the rental voucher program, apart from the requirement that the rent must be reasonable in relation to rents charged for comparable units in the private unassisted market, there is generally no limit on the amount of rent that an owner may charge for a unit.

However, at initial occupancy of any unit where the gross rent exceeds the payment standard, a family may not pay more than 40 percent of adjusted monthly income toward rent and utilities. The rental voucher subsidy is set based on the difference between the lower of the PHA's payment standard for the family's unit size or the gross rent and the total tenant payment (30 percent of the family's monthly adjusted income). This is the maximum amount of subsidy a family may receive regardless of the rent the owner charges for the unit. Therefore, rental voucher program participants may pay more or less than 30 percent of their monthly adjusted income toward rent and utilities, depending on whether the gross rent for the unit is more or less than the PHA's payment standard for the unit (24 CFR part 982, subpart K). If the cost of utilities is not included in the rent to the owner, the PHA uses a schedule of utility allowances to determine the amount an assisted family needs to cover the cost of utilities.

The PHA's utility allowance schedule is developed based on utility consumption and rate data for various unit sizes, structure types, and fuel types. The PHA is required to review its utility allowance schedules annually and to adjust them if necessary (24 CFR section 982.517). The PHA must inspect units leased under these programs at the time of initial leasing and at least annually thereafter to ensure they meet HUD housing quality standards (HQS). The PHA must also conduct supervisory quality control HQS inspections (24 CFR sections 982.305 and 982.405). PHAs are required to maintain a HAP contract register or similar record in which to record the PHA's obligation for monthly HAPs. This record must provide information as to: the name and address of the family, the name and address of the owner, dwelling unit size, the beginning date of the lease term, the monthly contract rent payable to the owner, monthly rent payable by the family, and the monthly HAP. The record shall also provide data as to the date the family vacates and the number of days the unit is vacant, if any (24 CFR section 982.158).

The Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) is HUD’s assessment program to annually and remotely measure the performance of PHAs that administer the tenant-based Section 8 programs. Under SEMAP, PHAs submit an annual certification, Form HUD-52648 (OMB No. 2577-0215), to HUD concerning their compliance with program requirements under 14 indicators of performance (24 CFR part 985). In the Section 8 programs, required program contracts and other forms must be word-for-word in the form prescribed by HUD headquarters. Any additions to or modifications of required program contracts or other forms must be approved by HUD headquarters (24 CFR section 982.162).

Facts and Reminders.
The subsidy standards used by the Housing Authority in determining the number of bedrooms each family is authorized is as follows. One bedroom will be assigned for every two nucleus household members, regardless of familial status, age or gender. A living room may be used as a bedroom/sleeping space for up to two persons. Non-nucleus members are not assigned a subsidy. Adding additional non-nucleus members will not be approved if it causes the family to be under-housed (overcrowded). This is in accordance with 24 CFR 982.401 (d)(2)(ii) & 24 CFR 982.402 (b)(1)(2). Please note: For relocations, the subsidy size may be different (smaller) that the subsidy size you are currently receiving.

The family members that are listed when a family is first leased under Section 8 is considered the “nucleus” family. The only time the number of bedrooms on a voucher will be increased is due to a change in family composition by:

◾ marriage
◾ birth
◾ adoption
◾ court awarded custody

Any additions to the family must first be approved by the Housing Authority in writing. The addition will not be approved if it causes overcrowding in the unit. Overcrowding is considered having more than two persons per bedroom and two in the living room.

This policy is in keeping with Federal Regulations that require the Housing Authority to designate standards that provide for the smallest number of bedrooms needed to house a family without overcrowding.Please see Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 982.402 (1). The Housing Authority will determine whether families that are moving or who have had a recent change in the family composition may have a change in the number of bedrooms that they are authorized on the Voucher, which must be applied in accordance with 24 CFR 982.401 (d)(2)(ii) & 24 CFR 982.402 (b)(1)(2). All families drawn from the waiting list will be issued Vouchers based on these subsidy standards. Families with Vouchers will be reviewed at annual re-examination time and the current voucher payment standards must be applied.

If there is a disabled person in the family and special accommodations are requested regarding the number of bedrooms authorized, a third party verification of the need will be required. Please request the special accommodation through the Housing Specialist to whom you are assigned.

Renting to/from Relatives under Section 8 is prohibited. Regulation, 24 CFR 982.306 (d) reads "The HA must not approve a unit if the owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the family unless the HA determines that approving the unit would provide reasonable accommodation for a family member who is a person with disabilities." The regulation effective date is June 17, 1998.

24 CFR 982.615 (b) (3) "Assistance may not be paid on behalf of an owner.  An assisted person may not be related by blood or marriage to a resident owner. “

The waiting list preferences are available here. Anyone drawn from the waiting list must have their eligibility determined for all qualifying preferences as well as all other eligibility factors. Families should not assume that they will receive housing assistance if they receive a letter stating that their name is at the top of the list. Frequently a family does not qualify for preferences claimed or other eligibility factors disqualify them. This program has limited funding and we are not able to help all that are in need of assistance.

Section 8 Project Based Moderate Rehabilitation Housing Assistance Programs
The Section 8 Project-Based Moderate Rehabilitation Housing Assistance Programs were developed to increase the number of affordable housing units to low income families. Housing assistance is offered to eligible families who wish to live in privately owned multi-family developments that were upgraded or rehabilitated.

Upon being determined eligible, a family is given a choice of such rehabilitated sites available at the time their name is drawn from the waiting list.The family must choose from a list of sites available in order to receive housing assistance under this program. You may apply directly to the management of the following complexes. If you move into these units, you will not meet the preferences for the Section 8 Voucher Program but you will be assisted while you are living in the unit.

Santa Fe Apartments
3279 Bernard St. Riverside
(951) 785-6091
** Must be 55+ for this community.

Bond Financed Rental Housing
The Housing Authority owns several bond financed multi-family rental housing developments in various cities throughout the County of Riverside.  Please see our Affordable Housing web page listing all these sites.


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