Application Instructions for California Section 8

Under the California Section 8 Program you may be eligible to receive financial assistance to make safe housing more affordable. The Section 8 Program includes the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher programs. These services are available by federal regulation through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administrated locally by the California Housing Authority. Learn more about these programs to see if you qualify for Section 8 in California and to apply for assistance.

Those individuals and households that qualify must meet the following requirements:

  • You must make below a certain amount, which is considered low-income.
  • In your household, there is at least one person who is disabled or elderly.
  • You must meet certain residency and nationality requirements.

If you fit these conditions you will need to apply for Section 8 programs at your local public housing authority (PHA). The PHA officer will provide you with the application and assist you through the process of securing housing. For the Housing Choice Voucher program, you are required to find your own housing, but it must meet the sanitary and safety requirements of the PHA. If you are interested in Project-Based Voucher assistance this program provides you the housing in selected housing projects.

To complete the application process, you will be required to provide documentation. This may include access to your personal banking information, proof of residency, proof of nationality, and other supportive information.  Once you have provided all the documentation and submitted your application you will be put in line to receive public housing.  The California Section 8 Program does have a waiting list, and certain California PHA locations have Section 8 waiting lists that are always open.  When your name comes up for selection on a waiting list you will be admitted in the section 8 program.  You will also learn whether you are selected for the Housing Choice Voucher or Project-Based Voucher programs.


Who can Qualify for Section 8?


To qualify for California Section 8 services, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements are mandated by the California public housing authority. You must verify your family income, term of residency in California, and nationality status. This information is required for all California Section 8 programs.

For the income requirement, the PHA requires that you must have low-income, very low-income, or extremely low-income. The lower the income in your household the greater the chance that you will receive a Housing Choice Voucher or Project-Based Voucher. In fact, 75% of recipients of section 8 assistance fall in the extremely low-income category. Review the Income Limits Summary for the state of California to see if you qualify.

For residency status, you must be a:

  • California resident and able to show proof of residency
  • Either a US citizen or permanent immigrant

Other stipulations that are considered when qualifying for Section 8 include your criminal background, rent history, and credit report. The HUD requires all Section 8 applicants to have limited assets, as well as a clean background check free of drug or criminal activity offenses. Typically, the background check will pull up your history over the past three years for consideration for Section 8 services. Therefore, if you do not qualify for Section 8 now due to a negative criminal or rental history, you can wait to apply after the three-year window.


How to Apply


Apply for California Section 8 services by contacting the California PHA office serving your community. The office will provide you with an application for services. You will be required to fill out the application and supplement the application with any necessary documentation. If you do not complete the application as requested or cannot provide the necessary documentation, then it will prevent you from applying for Section 8.

Once the application is submitted it is a waiting game. You will receive a letter stating whether your application is accepted, as well as your application status. For most applicants, this involves being placed on a waiting list. However, there is no time table on how long it will take you to receive a Housing Choice or Project-Based voucher.

If you would like to learn more about the application process for the California Section 8 Program contact your local PHA office. is not a government website or a government agency. You typically must work directly with the government to qualify for your program or benefits. This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. We do not claim responsibility for its accuracy.

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