Housing Authorities in California

State of Housing in CaliforniaThe State of California does not own or operate public housing; public housing is administered directly through local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) in California. For those jurisdictions that do not have a local PHA, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has a Housing Assistance Program (HAP) that administers the Section 8 program in those counties. HCD acts as the local housing authority for twelve rural counties. These counties are: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Glenn, Inyo, Modoc, Mono, Sierra, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tuolumne.

Housing Choice Vouchers or Section8

Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program.

A family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. Rental units must meet minimum standards of health and safety, as determined by the PHA.A housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. Under certain circumstances, if authorized by the PHA, a family may use its voucher to purchase a modest home.

Eligibility

Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, theState of Housing in California family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.

PHAs may establish local preferences for selecting applicants from its waiting list. PHAs may give a preference to a family who is (1) homeless or living in substandard housing, (2) paying more than 50% of its income for rent, or (3) involuntarily displaced. Families who qualify for any such local preferences move ahead of other families on the list. Each PHA has the discretion to establish local preferences to reflect the housing needs and priorities of its particular community.

Income limits may vary per county. One family may be eligible in one county but not in another. Eligibility for a housing voucher is determined by the PHA based on the total annual gross income and family size and is limited to US citizens and specified categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status. In general, the family's income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the family chooses to live.

Sample income limits for California

1 Person2 Person3 Person4 Person5 Person6 Person7 Person8 Person
$32,050 $36,600 $41,200 $45,750 $49,450 $53,100 $56,750 $60,400
$19,250 $22,000 $24,750 $27,450 $29,650 $31,850 $34,050 $36,250
$51,250 $58,600 $65,900 $73,200 $79,100 $84,950 $90,800 $96,650

HUD sets income limits every year to determine a family’s qualification for public housing or rent assistance in a private housing. By law, a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the area median income. Median income levels are published by HUD and vary by location. The PHA serving your community can provide you with the income limits for your area and family size.

Unemployment and Housing needs

State of Housing in CaliforniaHCD reports that California’s housing market ended on a stronger note in 2011 and showed signs of improvement for 2012 but a robust recovery is not forecast until this year. An overwhelming percentage of the elderly (88 percent per a recent AARP survey) prefer to age in place because of affordability issues and ability to remain independent. The younger generation may raise the demand for apartments and smaller starter homes in urban centers over the next decade.Between 2007 and 2009, the number of multi-generational households in the nation increased by 10.5 percent. Demographers predict multigenerational households will continue.The PHA determines a payment standard that is the amount generally needed to rent a moderately-priced dwelling unit in the local housing market and that is used to calculate the amount of housing assistance a family will receive.

Additional Information and other subsidy programs

For additional information about the voucher program, there may be a long wait for assistance under the housing voucher program. If the PHA also administers the public housing program, applicants for the housing choice voucher program may also ask to be placed on the waiting list for the public housing program. HUD also administers other subsidized programs and you may obtain a list of programs in your area from the Office of Housing at your local HUD office.

Among the states, California had the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in February 2013. It was followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, led by California, Kansas, and Indiana. Recovery is expected to be slow.

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