Households whose income is 50% or less of the median income in Sacramento are eligible for Section 8 housing vouchers, which authorize the U.S. federal government to cover a certain amount of their rent.
Established in the 1970s, the Section 8 program provides disabled individuals, low-income families, and elderly people with access to decent housing. You can pay 40% or less of your monthly income in rent if you qualify for Section 8 vouchers, and the government pays the rest.
Unfortunately, trying to get through the Section 8 program can be a real challenge. Overcrowded systems, extensive paperwork, and extremely long wait times make it seem nearly impossible to find Section 8 housing.
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Sacramento. We’ll break down the basics of the program, learn about the eligibility requirements, and cover the application process, apartment hunting, and keeping your tenancy.
What is Section 8 housing?
Section 8 is an affordable housing program run by the federal government to pay a portion of rent for low-income families, elderly people, and disabled people. The program gets its name from Section 8 of the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act, which is where the housing voucher problem began.
Let’s take a look at how Section 8 works:
- Eligible tenants submit applications for housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers to qualify for rental assistance through the local housing authority.
- Housing choice vouchers allow tenants to choose any apartment to live in as long as it meets the voucher’s conditions.
- Project-based vouchers are attached to certain properties, and landlords can designate specific apartment units as low-income dwellings.
- Vouchers are assigned by the local housing authority based on family size and composition for a certain number of bedrooms.
- Tenants who apply for housing using a voucher cannot be forced to pay more than 40% of their income in rent—the government covers the rest of the rent.
Section 8 obligations
Local housing authorities, landlords, and tenants all have their own responsibilities under the Section 8 program. Here are the obligations of each party:
Provide accurate and complete documentation
Determine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find suitable housing and complete all required paperwork before the voucher expires
Comply with fair housing laws
Approve units, rental amounts, and leases
Pay rent promptly and attend all required appointments
Complete all necessary repairs and maintenance
Inspect subsidized units annually
Notify the housing authority of any changes in income or family composition
Provide housing authority with documentation of any notices to tenants, including eviction notices
Ensure that both tenants and landlords comply with program rules
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Key Takeaway The government will pay up to 60% of your rent if you qualify for Section 8 housing, but you can expect to run into long waiting periods and plenty of red tape.
What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in Sacramento?
Sacramento’s Section 8 housing is managed by the
Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA). Before you can qualify for Section 8 housing vouchers in Sacramento, you will need to meet the requirements put in place by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
You must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, or a documented immigrant to qualify for Section 8 housing. If you have ever previously been evicted due to a major lease violation, particularly anything involving drug use or manufacturing, it’s more likely your application can get rejected. You will be denied if you are a convicted sex offender.
Your income cannot exceed 50% of the median income in your area to qualify for Section 8 housing. During income calculations, HUD includes the following:
- Alimony and child support
- Welfare assistance
- Business income
- Social Security benefits
There are also other kinds of income that may be included in your income calculation. You can determine your income by reading over
The median household income in Sacramento is $65,847. The precise income limits for Section 8 housing vary by family size—plus federal law requires SHRA to give 75% of its vouchers to applicants who have a total income of 30% or less than the area’s median income. This table displays the different tiers of qualifying income based on family size in Sacramento:
Very low income (50%)
The SHRA will also consider other factors besides income and family size in regards to your Section 8 application. Your application may receive a higher priority if you have children, elderly family members, or family members with a disability. You may also get pushed through the waitlist faster if you are currently unhoused.
How to apply for Section 8 housing in Sacramento
To apply for Section 8 housing in Sacramento, you’ll begin by filling out an application on the SHRA
online portal. You should prepare beforehand to provide extensive documentation to prove your income.
If you meet the program requirements, they will send you a confirmation letter to advise you that you are now on the waiting list. You may be on the waiting list for some time—it’s not uncommon to be on the list for a year or longer. While you are on the waiting list, be advised that you need to notify SRHA right away of any changes to your mailing or contact information, income, or family composition.
Once you reach the top of the waiting list, SRHA will reach out and ask you to come in for a briefing to explain the next steps of the proceeds. You will be certified as eligible, receive your voucher, and receive paperwork to request approval for your new apartment when you find one.
How to find Section 8 housing in Sacramento
While conducting your apartment search, remember to document everything—what applications have been submitted, any meetings with a landlord, and everything else. Keeping detailed records of your process can come to your aid if you aren’t able to find an apartment within the 90-day time frame and need an extension. If you can prove to SRHA that you have been actively searching for an apartment, they’re more likely to grant the extension. Remember—if you see any listings that say “no section 8,” you can report them to the housing authority.
Once you find an apartment, send SRHA a copy of your new lease with the “request for tenancy approval” document you received at your briefing.
The housing authority will have someone inspect the apartment after you move in to make sure it is “decent housing.” There will also be yearly inspections and recertifications to ensure everything is still up to the program’s code.
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What is the most Section 8 will pay?
You can’t be forced to pay more than 40% of your monthly income on rent under Section 8. The program will cover the rest, so up to 60% of your monthly income. The precise amounts will depend on your family size, income, and the fair market rent in your neighborhood.
How much is a 2 bedroom Section 8 voucher in Sacramento?
A 2-bedroom Section 8 voucher in Sacramento will typically pay a maximum amount between $1,243 and $1,984.
Do I have to accept Section 8 in California?
A law was passed in California that added voucher holders to existing California discrimination protections for source of income. The law prevents landlords from refusing to rent to applicants solely because they have a Section 8 housing voucher.