Everything You Need to Know About Section 8 Housing in San Bernardino

In San Bernardino, your household can get on a waiting list for Section 8 housing vouchers if it meets federal eligibility requirements.
Written by Jessie Devine
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
In San Bernardino,
, Section 8 housing is now known as the Tenant-Based Voucher Rental Assistance Program. Your household can qualify if it meets federal requirements—including income limits—but expect to be put on a waiting list.
The Section 8 housing program was created in the 70s to help low-income individuals and families,
senior citizens
, and disabled people access housing and to prevent homelessness. If you qualify, you pay 40% of your income or less toward your rent, and the government covers the rest.
Section 8 is a voucher system, and obtaining a voucher can be a struggle. There’s a lot of red tape, lengthy paperwork, and long wait times—and if you’re facing housing instability, the complicated process is just one more stressor in your life.
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San Bernardino
to help you understand the requirements, navigate the application process, and maintain your Section 8 housing.
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What is Section 8 housing?

Section 8 is a common name for the federal government’s major affordable housing program. Also called the housing choice voucher program, it is administered by local public housing agencies. 
Its goal is to assist low-income families, disabled people, and the elderly so they can access decent, safe, and clean housing.
The name Section 8 comes from Section 8 of the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act, which established the program. 
Here’s how the program works: 
  • First, figure out if you’re eligible. We’ll cover eligibility later, but that’s the first step.
  • Eligible tenants can apply for housing choice vouchers or project-based vouchers at their local housing authority. In San Bernardino, that’s
  • Housing choice vouchers allow tenants to live in any apartment that meets the voucher’s requirements—not just public housing.
  • Project-based vouchers can only be used at specific properties. They allow landlords to designate certain units as low-income dwellings eligible for Section 8.
  • Your family size will determine how many bedrooms your apartment may have using Section 8.
  • People using a housing choice voucher can’t be required to pay more than 40% of their income in rent. This number is lower in San Bernardino—24% or 30%, depending on your household type.
  • If the apartment’s rent costs more than this percentage, the government pays the rest directly to the landlord. 

Section 8 obligations

If you’re looking into Section 8, you know there are a bunch of rules and regulations, and this isn’t only true for tenants. Landlords and local housing authorities also have obligations to fulfill. Here’s what everyone involved is responsible for:
Housing authority
Provide accurate and complete documentation
Screen tenants
Determine applicants’ eligibility and issue vouchers
Find suitable housing and complete 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 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 If you qualify for Section 8 housing, the government will pay a significant portion of your rent, but expect to jump through some hoops to get there.

What are the requirements for Section 8 housing in San Bernardino?

Section 8 housing in San Bernardino is managed by the
Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB)
. To qualify, you’ll have to meet their requirements and the requirements set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (otherwise known as HUD).
To qualify for Section 8, you must be either a US citizen or documented immigrant who is 18 years of age or older. If you’ve ever been evicted, especially for drug use or methamphetamine manufacture, your application may be rejected—and if you’re a convicted sex offender, you’ll be denied. 
To qualify, your income can’t exceed 50% of the median income in your area. HUD includes the following income sources: 
  • Wages
  • Business income
  • Interest and dividends
  • Unemployment
  • Welfare assistance
  • Social security benefits
  • Alimony and child support
For more details on what income HUD uses in their calculations,
look at this list
The current median income in San Bernardino County is $74,969. The income limits for your household will depend on your family’s size, which you can view in the table below. 
Also keep in mind that federal law requires the HACSB to give 75% of its total available vouchers to applicants who qualify as extremely low income, with annual earnings 30% or less of the median.
Family size
Very low income (50%)
Extremely low income (30%)
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Other factors can encourage HACSB to prioritize your application. While there are currently long waitlists for all voucher programs, if you have children, disabled, or elderly family members, you may receive faster consideration. You could also be pushed up the waitlist if you’re currently unhoused
Note that as of this writing, the waitlist in San Bernardino for housing choice vouchers is full, but you can get on the list for project-based vouchers.

How to apply for Section 8 housing in San Bernardino

The first step to apply for Section 8 housing in San Bernardino is filling out an application through the
HACSB portal
. You’ll need an internet connection and proof of your income. Try your local library for help.
Once you complete the application, HACSB will review your application and notify you if you qualify. If you do, you’ll be placed on a waiting list. Households are served through attrition, meaning that a new one can only be added when someone else has left the program. 
For this reason, waiting times can be long—months or even years. To check your waiting list status, visit the HACSB portal and log in.
When you’re next in line on the waiting list, HACSB will contact you to verify your eligibility, and then you’ll be able to get your voucher. The next steps will depend if you’re in the housing choice voucher program or a project-based voucher program.

How to find Section 8 housing in San Bernardino

Section 8 housing in San Bernardino is known as the Tenant-Based Voucher Rental Assistance Program, and its waitlist is often closed. Because it serves families through attrition, it only opens every few years when new vouchers become available. The waitlist for Section 8 housing in San Bernardino is currently closed.
However, other housing assistance is available in San Bernardino. Project-based housing communities exist, where rental assistance is attached to a specific unit owned or managed by the HACSB or a different housing partner.
After a voucher becomes available to you, HACSB will refer you to the Property Management Company where you’ll be assigned an apartment. The unit has to pass an inspection, and then there’s some more paperwork to file. 
Once that’s all done, you and the landlord will enter into a lease agreement, and HACSB will provide the rental assistance.
Key Takeaway The waitlist for Section 8 housing in San Bernardino is currently closed, but you can still apply for project-based voucher programs.

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Under Section 8 federal law, you can’t be required to pay more than 40% of your income in rent. That means that Section 8 will cover the rest, but the exact dollar amount varies depending on your income, family size, and the rent prices in your area.
A voucher for a 2 bedroom unit in San Bernardino will typically pay a max amount between $1,358 and $1,660.
In California, is illegal discrimination to deny a tenant’s application just because they have a Section 8 voucher. Landlords must accept Section 8 vouchers as legitimate income and evaluate the prospective tenants as they would any other.
However, landlords are not required to accept Section 8 tenants just because they have a voucher, either.
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