DATE: September 26, 2006
TO: Mayor and Council Members
FROM: Ellen Bonneville, Housing Manager
SUBJECT: Overview of Housing Voucher Program and Residential Business
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
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
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
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
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