For the first time in three years, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is opening its waiting list for its much sought-after subsidized housing titles.
The Housing Choice Voucher, better known by its former name Section 8, is designed to help thousands of low-income residents and families find and afford housing. The Tenant Voucher program assists beneficiaries by covering part of the rent for a home in the private market, while the Project Voucher provides assistance to specific affordable housing communities.
The waitlist application for the tenant-based voucher opens Wednesday and ends January 26. A total of 5,000 applicants will be randomly selected and placed on the waiting list. The waiting lists for vouchers per project open on Wednesday and will remain open until further notice.
Under the Tenant Voucher program, households typically pay a landlord about 30% of their income for rent and utilities, with the local housing agency covering the rest through federal funds.
But getting a tenant-based home title is no guarantee of finding affordable housing. At any given time, around 1,100 people already have a voucher in hand but are not using it, SHRA spokeswoman Angela Jones said in a statement.
Bondholders struggle to find a landlord willing to accept it, or get beaten up over affordable homes in Sacramento’s increasingly fierce rental market. An investigation by Bee last year found that several landlords broke state law by banning voucher holders from applying for homes, a discriminatory practice that has prompted California authorities to crack down on landlords.
Many will wait months before they can redeem their voucher, surf a couch, sleep in their car, or pay rent they can’t afford in the meantime.
Nearly 4,000 landlords are currently housing tenants using Home Choice Vouchers, Jones said, with 134 landlords signing up during the pandemic under a CARES Act-funded incentive program.
“In today’s tight real estate market, we are counting on residential property owners who are willing to take a voucher so low-income families can afford a safe and decent place to live,” said Jones.
About 43,000 people applied to the waitlist when it was last opened in 2018, reflecting the intense demand for affordable housing in Sacramento County. Of those who applied, 7,000 were randomly selected and added to the waiting list.
SHRA is reopening applications because the agency has “almost exhausted that list,” Jones said in a statement. Some on the waiting list have received vouchers, others have not yet been processed; others moved, became ineligible or did not respond to the agency.
Eligibility for tenant-based vouchers includes income limits: a person earning less than $ 31,750 or a family of four earning less than $ 45,300, for example, is eligible. Criminal background checks are performed on all adults who apply for housing.
In addition to the tenant-based voucher, the housing agency is also opening several project-based waiting lists, including for the newly built Mirasol Village, a major mixed-income development run by SHRA in the north-central area. city which includes 427 new houses.
People can get on the waitlist at www.sacwaitlist.com, and come back after February 14 to see if they’ve been placed on the list. A complete list of waiting lists by project is also available on the housing agency’s website. Registration for the SHRA waiting lists is free.
This story was originally published January 11, 2022 10:34 a.m.