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DATE: September 26, 2006

TO: Mayor and Council Members

FROM: Ellen Bonneville, Housing Manager

SUBJECT: Overview of Housing Voucher Program and Residential Business License Permit

As requested by the City Council at the meeting of August 22, 2006 the following items are being submitted to you for your review:

1) Overview of Section 8/Housing Voucher Program;

2) Overview of Residential Business License practices in Contra Costa County and
programs from outside of the County; and

3) A copy of the “Citizen’s Guide to Residential Ordinances” developed by the City of
Concord for their Neighborhood Preservation Program.

Section 8 Program/ Housing Choice Voucher Program
What is the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV)?
The housing choice voucher program (also known as Section 8) is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
Who administers the HCV Program?
Housing choice vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies (PHAs). The PHAs receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program. In Contra Costa County, the cities of Pittsburg and Richmond administer their own programs, for all other areas, the County Housing Authority administers the program.
How does the HCV Program work?
The renter is free to choose any housing that meets the requirements of the program and is not limited to units located in subsidized housing projects. The unit must pass an inspection meeting the minimum standards of health and safety as determined by the PHA.
The family that is issued a housing voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of the family's choice where the owner agrees to rent under the program.
How is funding/rent provided?
The housing subsidy is paid to the landlord directly by the PHA on behalf of the participating family. The family then pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program.
The housing voucher family must pay 30% of its monthly adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, and if the unit rent is greater than the payment standard the family is required to pay the additional amount. By law, whenever a family moves to a new unit where the rent exceeds the payment standard, the family may not pay more than 40 percent of its adjusted monthly income for rent.

How much funding is provided?
The PHA calculates the maximum amount of housing assistance allowable. The maximum housing assistance is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income. According to Mark Stephenson, Contra Costa Housing Authority, the average housing assistance is $950 per month.
Example: The maximum income for a family of 4 is $41,900 (annual) or $3,490 (monthly). This family would have to pay $1,047 on rent and utilities. If that same family had an annual income of $25,000, they would have to pay $625 towards rent and utilities. The voucher payment would be the balance of the negotiated rent amount. Every case is different.

The current number of Voucher recipients within the City of Brentwood ranges from 300 to 340

City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5440
Fax (925) 516-5441