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San Jose Section 8 Housing Resources

November 4, 2020

Are you looking for affordable housing options in San Jose? The San Jose Section 8 housing program is managed by local state-run PHAs or public housing authorities.

Rent is partly subsidized and the housing vouchers are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If you meet a specific income threshold and other requirements, renters can apply for an opportunity to receive assistance.

Here's what to know about Section 8 housing in San Jose. We’ll show you how to apply and what to expect.

San Jose Section 8 Housing Eligibility

Nearly 17,000 people participate in Section 8 housing programs in Santa Clara County. That includes the greater San Jose metro area. The goal of the program is to find affordable, safe, and sanitary housing for low-income renters.

Tenants must earn below 50% of the median area income in the metro area to apply for the program. Currently, that figure is $55,300 for one person or $71,100 for three persons.

The number of people in your household will also change how much income you need to earn. Before you apply, contact your local PHA office to ask for any updates in income or program changes.

Some situations will also disqualify you from receiving housing vouchers. For example, your citizen status and specific crimes could eliminate you from the Section 8 housing program. However, some non-US citizens are still eligible to receive housing vouchers.

You also don't need to live in San Jose to apply for local housing vouchers. Instead, you can start applying from your current location and then move after getting accepted. Some residents will apply to various California counties and decide where to move based on their acceptance.

How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in San Jose

If you’re not sure how to get started, local PHA representatives in San Jose can help guide you through the Section 8 housing application status.

You'll also need documentation to apply. That includes a Social Security number, pay stubs, and tax returns. Make sure to have those items readily available.

Household members will also need to provide documentation during the application process.

You can quickly apply for Section 8 vouchers online for the fastest response possible. Expect to hear back in a few weeks about your application. However, backlogs and waitlists are common.

You can also request that a PHA representative help guide you through the application process and ensure it’s done correctly. A mistake could mean a rejected application and the inability to apply for another year.

Section 8 Housing Waitlists

It’s common to be placed on a lengthy waitlist once you're approved for Section 8 housing in San Jose. Some PHAs will also stop accepting applications for a specific period of time to process their backlog.

However, it is possible to advance through the Section 8 waitlist faster than other applicants. Preference is given to the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, the disabled, and pregnant women.

A documented medical condition like respiratory illness could also help you advance on the waitlist. Local PHA offices work through their lists on a case by case basis to offer vouchers to the most vulnerable people for housing first.

To ensure things move along smoothly, keep your contact information updated at all times with any PHAs you apply with for public housing. Section 8 representatives will periodically ask if you want to remain on the waitlist or if your situation has changed. If they can't reach you, they may purge you from the list to reduce their backlog and continue processing applicants.

Section 8 Housing Vouchers

When your Section 8 application is approved and you’re off the waitlist, it’s time to find a subsidized apartment. However, not all landlords and apartments accept housing vouchers. It can take time to find affordable housing in San Jose.

Once you find a place to live, your landlord will receive the vouchers directly from the government. Tenants are required to make up any differences of the subsidized rent themselves.

You're also required to keep the PHA updated with any changes to your financial situation. A new job, pay raise, or a job loss could change your housing vouchers' amount or status.

Stay in continuous contact about your situation to avoid any issues. Otherwise, you could risk losing your housing voucher status.

Where to Find Section 8 Housing in San Jose

It can prove challenging to find accommodations that accept housing vouchers in San Jose. You'll quickly discover that not all rentals participate in the program. Or, they may already be at capacity.

The best way to locate Section 8 housing is to visit the City of San Jose government site to look through options in the metro area. You’ll also find additional information about special needs and elderly renters.

Useful Resources

The good news is, Santa Clara's Section 8 program stands out as the first housing authority in the nation to earn a "Strong" ranking by Standard & Poor's. They also strive to be an example of the program and work to accept as many people as possible into the program. You can learn more about Section 8 housing in the city of San Jose and Santa Clara County by visiting the SCCHA Housing Authority.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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