Housing Choice Voucher Program Overview

The Santa Monica Housing Authority is NOT accepting applications for Housing Choice Vouchers (also known as Section 8 vouchers) at this time.

Please check the Housing Choice Voucher waitlist page periodically for further announcements.

What is the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program?

The HCV Program, also known as Section 8, was established by the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act. It is the principal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program for assisting very low-income households to secure decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Assistance is provided to eligible households to be used toward renting privately-owned housing within the City of Santa Monica. Program participants pay a minimum of 30% of their income toward rent and the SMHA pays the remainder up to the payment standard.

How much can a household earn and still be eligible?

Every year, HUD determines the median family income for the Los Angeles County area. Any household with an income less than 50% of that median income is potentially eligible to have their rent subsidized under the program. The income limits scale according to household size and are as follows:

Family Size Annual Income
1 Person $33,950    
2 Persons $38,800
3 Persons $43,650
4 Persons $48,450
5 Persons $52,350
6 Persons $56,250
7 Persons $60,100
8 Persons $64,000

(These limits are adjusted annually)

Are there preferences given based on urgent need?

The HCV Program is not an emergency housing program. However, if you are being or have been displaced from a Santa Monica residence for one of these specific reasons, and meet the above income criteria, contact the Santa Monica Housing Authority (SMHA) at 310-458-8743.

What determines the subsidy amount?

See SMHA's payment standard.

What is the relationship between SMHA and a property owner?

SMHA executes a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract with the property owner when a voucher-holder finds an apartment they want to rent. First, SMHA reviews the lease and determines, by inspection, that the unit complies with HUD's housing quality standards.

Once the HAP Contract has been executed, SMHA can begin making monthly rent payments to the owner. The owner is responsible for collecting the tenant's portion of the rent. On a yearly basis, SMHA reexamines the tenant's income and modifies the HAP Contract accordingly. On a biennial basis, the unit is inspected to ensure that it continues to comply with HUD's housing quality standards.

What type of housing is eligible?

Any existing rental housing in the incorporated areas of Santa Monica may be eligible for the program (single family houses, townhouses, or apartments), provided that the housing conforms to housing quality standards. Owner-occupied housing is not eligible.

Can a landlord refuse to accept a housing choice voucher?

No. Santa Monica Municipal Code § 4.28.030 says that landlords cannot "refuse to rent or lease a housing accommodation ... or otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or persons, a housing accommodation" on the basis of source of income.

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