HACA Significantly Increases Section 8 Payment Standards

A recent survey of the East Bay rental market, approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), found that rents for typical units (neither substandard nor higher end) had increased by 34%.  In response, the Housing Authority of the County of Alameda (HACA) has significantly increased payment standards for both the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) and the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (VASH).

The VASH program combines Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Effective February 8, 2016, the HACA payment standards are:









Albany, Castro Valley, Emeryville








Dublin, Pleasanton








Fremont, Newark, Union City








Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo








Manufactured Home Space Rent








When payment standards rise, landlords and families participating in the HCV and VASH Programs both win.  Landlords are better able to get the rents that work for them and families are better able to afford standard housing with an appropriate number of bedrooms.  HACA believes that landlords that left the HCV and VASH Programs because HACA’s previous payment standards did not work for them owe it to themselves to give the program another look.

The new payment standards apply to:

  • HCV applicants issued vouchers by HACA;
  • HCV voucher holders moving into HACA’s jurisdiction from elsewhere;
  • Current HACA HCV participants moving within HACA’s jurisdiction;
  • VASH participants using their voucher in HACA’s jurisdiction;
  • HACA HCV participants remaining in their current unit at their next annual reexamination of family income and composition; and to
  • New HCV HAP contracts executed on the expiration of an existing contract.

A housing authority’s payment standard is the maximum gross rent (rent plus utilities) that the housing authority uses to compute the monthly Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) that it can make to a landlord to subsidize the rent of a Section 8 family.  (The actual gross rent that the housing authority uses is based on the reasonableness of the rent in comparison to that of comparable units in the same neighborhood; it is not automatically the payment standard.)  All local housing authority HAP funds come from HUD.

In setting payment standards, HACA, like all housing authorities, has to perform a delicate balancing act to manage the HAP funds it receives from HUD.  HACA has to pay landlords enough so that families can afford modest housing and yet not run out of money before the end of the year.  If HACA sets the rents that families are allowed to pay too low for its market area, families won’t be able to find suitable housing and/or will have to pay too much (i.e., more than 30% - 40% of their income) as rent.  If HACA sets rents too high, it will run out of HAP funds and will have to reduce the size of its program, possibly having to terminate the leases of participating families.

For more information about HACA’s HCV Program, contact HACA Leasing Services Leadworker Meranda Jones at (510) 727-8555.

For more information about HACA’s VASH Program, contact HACA Housing Specialist Tonya Edmond at (510) 727-8545.  Renting to a homeless veteran participating in HACA’s VASH program is a great way to thank him or her for their service.

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