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Frequently Asked Questions

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What kind of rental assistance programs are available?
What is Section 8?
Does the Housing Agency screen the family for suitability as renters?
Can I use my own Lease Agreement?
What are the conditions for unit approval?
What is the purpose of rent reasonableness?
How much of a security deposit can a property owner collect?
How often will my rental unit be inspected?
When can a property owner raise the rent?
When can the Lease Agreement be terminated?
What if the property is sold?
What document between the owner and Housing Agency is required to be signed?
What is Contract Rent?
How do I find out if I qualify?
How do I apply for rental assistance?
How long will it be before I start receiving rental assistance?
What is the process for landlords to participate in the program?
When does the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) start?
When do landlords get their Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)?
What is the process for changing ownership or the management of property on assisted units?
What assistance can be provided through the home repair programs?
Where are the eligible areas for the home repair programs?
What are the requirements for the home repair programs?
How do you apply for the home repair programs?
What are Density Bonus Programs?
How can permit processing be expedited for development of a low-income housing development?
What low-cost financing programs are available for low-income housing development?
What is the major purpose of the HOME program?
What are the major eligible activities under the HOME program?
Who can apply for HOME funds?
What are the major activities that can be funded under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program?
What are the eligible areas for County CDBG?
What are the basic CDBG Eligibility Requirements?
What are the basic procedures to be followed to receive block grant funding?
In September of each year, CDBG staff schedule community meetings to provide technical assistance to communities and consortium/participating cities,
What is the purpose of the ESG program?
I know someone who is homeless and needs a place to stay tonight, where can he/she go for help?
I would like to volunteer my services at a homeless shelter. What do you recommend?
I have a client who needs to get into a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center, where can I find resources?
I am looking for a relative whom is believed to be homeless how can I find them?

What kind of rental assistance programs are available?

The Department administers Housing Choice, Voucher, and Moderate Rehabilitation Programs.  In addition, the Department also administers a Public Housing Program.  These programs provide monthly rental assistance towards the rent of eligible participants.  The amount of rental assistance is based on the family size and the income of the participants.

What is Section 8?

Section 8 is a federally funded and locally administered program that provides monthly rental assistance to eligible families.

Does the Housing Agency screen the family for suitability as renters?

The Housing Agency does not screen families for their suitability as renters. This is a responsibility of the property owner. However, the current address and name of landlord, as well as the previous address and the name of the previous landlord may be requested by the prospective landlord.

Can I use my own Lease Agreement?

Yes, a family may use its own lease agreement. However, a lease addendum containing HUD proscriptions and federal provisions will also be required.

 

What are the conditions for unit approval?

A unit must pass a housing quality standard inspection and the rent must be reasonable. These two requirements are necessary for health and safety reasons and to make sure that rents families are paying are consistent with program rents. The unit inspection checklist can be viewed in our website library or by clicking here.

What is the purpose of rent reasonableness?

The purpose is to ensure that rents are similar with unassisted rents in the community, and to make sure that Section 8 participants are not being charged more than non participants.

How much of a security deposit can a property owner collect?

The property owner is allowed to charge a reasonable security deposit in accordance with State and local laws.

How often will my rental unit be inspected?

Every rental assistance unit must be inspected by the Housing Authority at least once a year. The inspections are necessary for health and safety reasons. The unit inspection checklist can be viewed in our website library or by clicking here.

When can a property owner raise the rent?

The rent may be increased after the expiration of the initial lease term. However, a rent increase cannot be processed unless an advanced 60-day notice is provided to the tenant and the Housing Authority. Also, the increased rent must always be comparable to similar unassisted rents in the area. 

When can the Lease Agreement be terminated?

The owner may terminate the lease unilaterally only if the tenant violates the terms of the lease, or for another good cause. The owner and the tenant can mutually decide to terminate the lease at any time

What if the property is sold?

The owner must contact the Housing Agency prior to the sale of the property. The contract and lease terminate upon sale of the property. However, the Housing Agency and the new owner may transfer the Housing Assistance Payments Contract to provide uninterrupted rental assistance payments.

What document between the owner and Housing Agency is required to be signed?

A written contract provided by the Housing Agency is needed. This a program requirement and the purpose of the contract is to legally provide housing assistance payments on behalf of an eligible family.

What is Contract Rent?

The contract rent is the total amount of rent that the Housing Authority authorizes as reasonable for a unit occupied by a family receiving assistance.

How do I find out if I qualify?

You can call (858) 694-4801 or toll free at (877) 478-LIST to ask for information about the program.

How do I apply for rental assistance?

You may submit an application on-line at www.sdhcd.org.  If you require specific accommodation to complete the application, please contact our office at (858) 694-4801 or toll free at (877) 478-LIST.

How long will it be before I start receiving rental assistance?

The wait for rental assistance after a family is placed on the waiting list is usually between 8-10 years.

What is the process for landlords to participate in the program?

The process is simple. A landlord with an available rental unit receives a rental application from an eligible Section 8 participant. The landlord screens this applicant like any other applicant and decides to approve the application. The Section 8 participant then gives the landlord a packet of forms to complete. These forms are mailed back to the Housing Authority and the landlord is contacted regarding the inspection of the rental unit once the Housing Authority determines the proposed unit meets program requirements.

When does the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) start?

The payment will start either the date the unit passes inspection or the date the family will be moving into the unit ? whichever is later. Assistance will never start before the unit passes inspection and a lease and contract must be executed before a payment can be issued.

When do landlords get their Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)?

The first HAP for a newly approved unit is issued approximately two weeks after all paperwork has been processed. Thereafter, the HAP is mailed or electronically deposited on the first of the month. The landlord should contact the Housing Authority if a payment is not received by the tenth working day of the month.

What is the process for changing ownership or the management of property on assisted units?

The landlord must notify the Housing Authority and the tenant of owner changes as soon as possible in order for future payments to be issued correctly. The landlord should promptly mail or fax written notice of any changes. Changes in ownership or property management must be accompanied by a list of the affected assisted tenants and proof of the change such as a copy of the grant deed, the closing escrow settlement documents, or the new property management contract. After a request has been properly submitted, the changes will be processed.

What assistance can be provided through the home repair programs?

The program generally addresses a health and safety related items, ranging from minor repairs to substantial repair of roofs, heating, electrical, or plumbing systems. A low interest deferred loan is utilized to serve the repair of single-family homes or a grant for mobile homes in the eligible target areas of the county.

Where are the eligible areas for the home repair programs?

The residential rehabilitation programs are available throughout the unincorporated areas of San Diego County; i.e., those areas not within a city, as well as the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, and Solana Beach.

What are the requirements for the home repair programs?

For the Home Repair Loan Program (i.e., owner occupied single-family residences and mobile homes), the following applies:

  • Household income must be below eighty percent (80%) of San Diego area median income (AMI), as determined by household size.
  • Assistance is provided through a low-interest deferred loan of up $25,000 for a single-family residence and at grant of up to $12,000 for a mobile home.
  • Deferred loans are offered to qualifying applicants. If you qualify for this loan, you can borrow funds at three percent (3%) simple interest, which is calculated annually on the unpaid principal only. The loan is due and payable when your property changes title through sale, transfer, or death, or when you no longer reside in the residence or in 30 years, whichever comes first. Mobilehome grant does not have to be repaid.

 

How do you apply for the home repair programs?

For the Home Repair Loan Program, call (858) 694-8750.

What are Density Bonus Programs?

The County's density bonus programs allow for increases in the number of dwellings that may be built on a property. A developer who wishes to take advantage of a density bonus may be allowed to increase the total number of units over what would otherwise be allowed, provided that a certain percentage of the total number of the additional units are reserved for low- and moderate-income households. The required number of affordable units varies according to the program under which the proposed project falls. The County has four programs that can be utilized by developers to increase the density of their projects.

You may view more information on these programs.

How can permit processing be expedited for development of a low-income housing development?

The Expedited Permit Processing for Lower-income Housing Developments (Policy A-68) expedites the processing of permits and other clearances required by the County prior to construction or rehabilitation of a housing development to be occupied in whole or in part by lower-income households.

What low-cost financing programs are available for low-income housing development?

Tax Credits for Low-income Rental Housing Program provides tax credits for owners and investors of low-income rental housing. Applications for funding for this program are through the State's Tax Credit Allocation Committee. As with the tax-exempt bond financing program, there are minimum occupancy and rental rate restrictions for developments receiving federal tax credits. The developer may choose two options for the setting-aside units at affordable rental rates: 20% of the total units for households of 50% or less of area median income; or, 40% of the total units for households of 60% or less of area median income. To be competitive in the statewide application process for the limited supply of tax-credits, it may be necessary to increase the amount of set-aside units above the minimum requirements.

*AMI figures

What is the major purpose of the HOME program?

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program provides funds to local governments based on a formula to implement local housing strategies designed to increase the supply of housing for persons with incomes at or below eighty (80%) percent of the Area Median Income. These funds are then available in the form of low-interest loans to nonprofit and for-profit developers of affordable housing.

What are the major eligible activities under the HOME program?

Eligible activities include: property acquisition, rehabilitation, site improvements, assistance to homebuyers (including assistance with down payment and closing costs), new construction, relocation, and special needs tenant based rental assistance.

Who can apply for HOME funds?

HOME funds are available through the County's Notice of Funding Available. Eligible applicants include non-profit housing developers, for-profit housing developers, other non-profit organizations, Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO)--as recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development--and private for-profit developers.

What are the major activities that can be funded under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program?

Eligible activities include public improvements (such as parks, streets, community centers, drainage structures, etc.), housing development, residential rehabilitation, economic development and public services which directly relate to housing or physical community revitalization.

What are the eligible areas for County CDBG?

Specific areas targeted for CDBG funding are termed Neighborhood Revitalization Areas. These are located within the six participating cities, Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Poway, and Solana Beach, and within the unincorporated portion of San Diego County, in the communities of Casa De Oro, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Lincoln Acres, Ramona, Spring Valley, and in the eastern part of County, termed the Rural Development Area.

What are the basic CDBG Eligibility Requirements?

 Projects must meet one of three CDBG National Objectives, namely benefit low and moderate income persons, eliminate slums and blight, or address a matter of particular urgency.

With regard to benefit to low and moderate income persons, a project must benefit a geographic area, or serve a limited clientele, that is predominantly low and moderate income. A low and moderate income person is defined by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a member of a household whose total household income falls below 80% of the regional median. However, certain groups of persons, including abused children, battered spouses, elderly, disabled, homeless, illiterate, and farm workers, are "presumed" to be lower income.

With regard to the CDBG National Objective of the elimination of slums, a study must be conducted of a defined area, and a determination made, with concurrence by HUD, that the area is blighted.

A matter of urgency, the third CDBG National Objective, is reserved for major disasters such as floods or earthquakes, where the urgent condition has not existed for less than 18 months and no other funds are available to address the condition.

What are the basic procedures to be followed to receive block grant funding?

In September of each year, CDBG staff schedule community meetings to provide technical assistance to communities and consortium/participating cities, County departments, residents and community organizations on how to apply for CDBG funding. The topics covered include, but are not limited to, eligibility, procedures, and dates for submittal. A CDBG application is also handed out at that time.

By the end of October all applications for the next funding cycle must be received. Staff recommendations regarding funding are made to the County Board of Supervisors by April of the following year.  Projects awarded funds must be ready to proceed in July.  Projects may then be implemented, assuming a contract has been executed between the County of San Diego and the sub recipient and the environmental review is complete.

In September of each year, CDBG staff schedule community meetings to provide technical assistance to communities and consortium/participating cities,

All projects funded with CDBG funds require:

Environmental Processing: All CDBG Projects must be processed though California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements before commitment of any CDBG funds.  This work is conducted by County staff.

CDBG Implementation Agreements: CDBG funded projects require execution of a standard County/Sub-recipient Implementation agreement.

Competitive Bidding: Agencies implementing CDBG projects must obtain competitive bids or estimates for all materials purchased and work to be accomplished by contractors and sub-contractors.

Davis/Bacon wages to be paid: CDBG funded construction contracts in excess of $2,000 require the payment of federal Davis/Bacon prevailing wages and are subject to Fair Labor Standards.

What is the purpose of the ESG program?

The Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program provides funds once a year to local agencies to administer emergency shelter to homeless individuals and families within the Urban County.

Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds may be used for: renovation, major rehabilitation, or conversion of buildings for use as emergency shelter for the homeless; essential services to the homeless; payment of maintenance, operation, insurance, utilities, and furnishings; and developing and implementing homeless prevention activities.

I know someone who is homeless and needs a place to stay tonight, where can he/she go for help?

For actual placement or specific services available to homeless individuals, contact 2-1-1 San Diego.  Dial "211" or visit their website: www.211sandiego.org  

I would like to volunteer my services at a homeless shelter. What do you recommend?

A list of Homeless service providers in the County is available by contacting the Regional Task Force on the Homeless website.  You can also log onto to the Volunteer Center of San Diego County website.

I have a client who needs to get into a drug/alcohol rehabilitation center, where can I find resources?

For information about such resources, contact 2-1-1 San Diego.  Dial "211" or visit their website: www.211sandiego.org  

I am looking for a relative whom is believed to be homeless how can I find them?

The best way to find a  homeless person is to contact the larger homeless shelters directly and leave your name and phone number.  Contact 2-1-1 San Diego.  Dial "211" or visit their website: www.211sandiego.org