FAQ For Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Participants


Please see the general response timelines below:

Response to call or email: Housing Specialists are working through their messages as quickly as possible and it may take up to 3 business days to respond to your inquiry. If your Housing Specialist is out of the office, another staff member will cover the answering of their calls and/or emails.

Response to income change request: Processing times for income change requests is roughly 4-6 weeks. When your request is processed, SCCHA will send a letter to you and your landlord notifying all parties of the change. In many cases, the effective date of your new rent amount is the first day of the month after your Housing Specialist has received all supporting documentation.

Response to request for reasonable accommodation: The processing time for reasonable accommodation requests is roughly 4-6 weeks. Reasonable accommodations requests must be submitted to your Housing Specialist in writing. After you share the request with SCCHA, the medical or other knowledgeable professional you listed in the request must respond to SCCHA's confirmation inquiry. SCCHA will mail you a letter with the decision.

SCCHA offers interpretation and translation services to ensure equal access to our housing programs for those with limited English proficiency. Please request translation services as needed with any SCCHA staff.

As a Housing Choice Voucher participant, you'll generally pay 30% of your income in rent. The easiest way to find your rent portion is by using the Tenant Portal, where you can always find your updated rent amount without having to contact your Housing Specialist.

A central benefit of the Housing Choice Voucher program is that you'll pay roughly 30% of your income towards the full rent amount and SCCHA will subsidize the remaining amount. If you've had a recent change in income, such as loss of employment or cash benefits, you must report the change to SCCHA in writing. You can submit this notice online via the Tenant Portal or print the Income Change Request Form and mail it/bring it into the office. When you send in this request, you’ll need to show proof that your income has changed.

SCCHA recommends you advise your landlord of the anticipated change and pay as much as you can, if not all, of your last known rent portion. Please note that SCCHA will process the change take effect the 1st of the following month. In most cases, 30% of your household's updated income will determine your rent portion. Once SCCHA has notified you and the landlord of the change in your rent portion, you and your landlord can collaborate to figure out any reimbursements or credits to the following months' rent.

When you receive your voucher, you have an initial term of 120 days from the issuance date to search for a rental unit to lease. You must request an extension from your Housing Specialist if you need additional time to search for a home - they can extend your voucher for an additional 60 days from the date of your Housing Specialist’s approval or 60 days from the voucher's original expiration date, whichever is later. You must submit the extension request at least 10 days before your voucher is set to expire.

SCCHA can also provide a final extension of 60 days beyond the first 60-day extension if it's determined that the family is experiencing extenuating circumstances that affect the family’s ability to find a unit.

To cancel your request, you must notify SCCHA in writing before your voucher expires. However, this is only valid for your Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) and not your current rental contract. Please contact your landlord directly to request changes to your notice or rental contract.

Any earned income including but not limited to:
Employment Income
Social Service Assistance

For a full list of income, please refer to this list published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Generally, every 1-3 years SCCHA is required to check program eligibility including income and household members. Because we use federal money to give households rental assistance, we must follow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules and requirements. You can learn more about re-examinations here.

It’s generally in the same month as your first income exam. Check out the Tenant Portal for the exact dates.

SCCHA Properties

You must get on the SCCHA interest lists on the Applicant Portal. You can learn more here.

All SCCHA properties are currently being managed by a third-party management company. Please contact the property manager at the specific site.

For certain properties, this application and waitlist information may be available online:
Visit John Stewart Company
Visit FPI Management, Inc.

Please contact the site directly for application process and status. You can search for Section 8 and low-income housing properties at www.affordablehousing.org

With few exceptions, these apartments are not funded by a Housing Choice Voucher. This means that unlike the HCV housing, the apartments listed on this page, set rent at a fixed amount at move in, and not as a percentage of income. Also unlike the Housing Choice Voucher program, rent does not change if the tenant’s income is reduced and rents may be subject to increase. Because the rent and income information may vary from site to site, applicants must ask the site’s property manager for details on rent and income requirements for that site. Housing Choice Voucher holders are welcome (but not eligible for units already subsidized with a Housing Choice Voucher); Voucher holders should let the property manager know as soon as possible in the leasing process.

If you need a reasonable accommodation in completing an application or as a resident, please contact the property manager directly.

Our property managers conduct all leasing and management in accordance with Federal Fair Housing Law and disability laws. It is illegal to discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status or national origin. You may address a Fair Housing concern by emailing the Housing Programs administrative assistant: fairhousing@scchousingauthority.org

Rental Assistance or Affordable Housing

You can find program details and apply to be on the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) interest lists here. To find other affordable housing options outside of SCCHA and for additional resources visit www.affordablehousing.org.

You can apply by visiting the Applicant Portal - it only takes a few minutes.

For program details, see flyer.

You do not have to be a resident of Santa Clara County to apply, although preference will be given to those who have lived or worked in the county within the last five years.

  • Applicant must be 18+
  • Applicant or one family member must be legally documented in the U.S.
  • Anyone can be considered part of your household. You do not have to be related
  • You must meet the income eligibility requirements. Please see the table below

In order for a family to be eligible for federal housing assistance in Santa Clara County, the total household income must not exceed these established yearly income limits as listed in the table below:

Household Size Annual Income Limit
1 Person $64,550
2 Persons $73,750
3 Persons $82,950
4 Persons $92,150
5 Persons $99,550
6 Persons $106,900
7 Persons $114,300
8 Persons $121,650
9 Persons $129,050
10 Persons $136,400
11 Persons $143,800
12 Persons $151,150

*Income limits effective as of April 1, 2024

If you are randomly selected to receive a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8), we will contact you by email or mail via the information you provided when you signed up to the interest lists on the Applicant Portal. It is important that you keep your contact information updated.

SCCHA offers interpretation and translation services to ensure equal access to our housing programs for those with limited English proficiency. Please ask any SCCHA staff member to access this service.

Tenant Portal

Please contact the Tenant Portal hotline at (888) 827-7090 so we can restore your account access.

We work through requests as quickly as possible, but sometimes it takes up to 2 business days to return your message. If you’re still waiting after 3 business days, contact us at (408) 275-8770. Please note that our offices are closed every other Friday, which may delay our response time to the following business day.