The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz is a public agency committed to providing essential services while following public health directives to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Santa Cruz County issued a Shelter in Place order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. As a result of this directive, the Housing Authority has suspended public access to the main office until the Shelter in Place directive is lifted.   Below are the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about how our Agency is providing continued services, and how to work with the Housing Authority during the pandemic.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to email us at info@hacosantacruz.org or call us at (831) 454-9455.
Updated 8.10.2020

Click below for questions and answers related to the following categories, to jump to that portion of the webpage.

Program Participant
Landlords
Waiting List Applicants
Voucher Holders Currently Searching for Housing
Contact Information

Program Participants

How do I report an income or family composition change?  Income and family composition changes can be submitted by mail, email, drop box, or fax. If you are unable to contact us using one of these ways, call our Information Center at (831) 454-5955 and we can take your information over the phone. You may also use the Income Change Report form to report any income changes. Most forms are available here.  At this time, you can self-certify to an income or family composition change.  If your family is experiencing any changes, please contact us so we can adjust your subsidy as quickly as possible.

What do I do if I lost my job due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)? Notify the Housing Authority immediately so that your rent can be adjusted. Families who have stopped working due to the pandemic will have wages removed.  You must report this change so that an interim can be conducted. The effective date of the interim and change in your income will be effective the first day of the month after you report the income change. When you report the start of  Unemployment Insurance Benefits, Disability Insurance, or Paid Family Leave those benefits will be added with a separate Interim.

What if I can’t provide verification from my employer of an income change?  We will process the income change as soon as possible. Due to Shelter in Place, we are accepting self-certifications.

What if I am going through the re-examination process and I still need to submit documents? Annual reexaminations may be postponed. Additionally, at this time we are not requesting verification documents for annual re-examinations, and we may complete your re-examination based on self-certifications. We will contact you with a new request if we still need any information.

What if the Landlord increases the contract rent? The Landlord and you must notify the Housing Authority in writing of any contract rent increase; the Housing Authority will review and will sent a written notification to both the tenant and landlord of any changes to your portion of rent.

Is my CARES Act “enhanced” unemployment and stimulus counted as income? While regular unemployment benefits are considered income, we will exclude the $600 per week enhancement provided by the CARES Act because these payments are temporary/non-recurring and are likely to end after the pandemic emergency ends. The pending stimulus payments being made directly to individuals and families will be excluded from annual income, as again, they are temporary/non-recurring payments.

I need forms; where can I get them? Most forms are available on our website here. Or call our Information Center at (831) 454-5955 to request forms be mailed to you.

Are we able to email documents to the Housing Authority?  Yes.  You are encouraged to submit documents through our general web mail at info@hacosantacruz.org. These emails will be routed to the appropriate staff.  Please provide your contact information in your email, along with any questions, documents or forms, so that we can reach you.

What if my annual inspection is supposed to be scheduled during the time of Shelter in Place? Once the Shelter in Place directive is lifted, we will contact you to set up an inspection date and time.

I have a Family Self-Sufficiency Contract (FSS) but school and work are closed; what can I do? FSS Contracts of Participation may receive 2year extensions using COVID-19 as the “good cause”.   Please contact us to discuss an extension of your FSS Contract.

I live in LIPH and have a Community Service/Self-Sufficiency requirement which I can’t fulfil because community agencies, work and school are closed; what can I do? Community Service Requirements are temporarily suspended.

Can I stop paying my rent or get a waiver?   Tenants are still required to continue to pay rent to their landlord.  There are temporary eviction moratoriums at the local, state, and federal level.  Each moratorium has different restrictions and different expiration dates.  Information about eviction moratoriums are available at the links below.  You may also contact local legal advocates for assistance, such as California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA).

City of Santa Cruz Eviction Moratorium
City of Capitola Eviction Moratorium
City of Watsonville Eviction Moratorium
County of Santa Cruz (Unincorporated) Eviction Moratorium
State of California Eviction Moratorium

HUD has information for tenants and landlords on repayment agreements and other eviction prevention solutions. Click here for information.

What if I need more help, getting food or supplies or medical attention? There are many new programs and services currently available to help anyone who needs assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please call “211”, which is an Information Center run by the United Way.  They can tell you about programs and services you may be eligible for.

Landlords

Is our office open?
Our office lobby is currently closed to the public. Staff is either working remotely or in the office. You can reach up by phone, letter, email or fax.
(831) 454-9455
info@hacosantacruz.org
Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz, 2160 41st Ave., Capitola, CA 9501
Fax Number (831) 469-3712
Drop Box located to the left side of the lobby doors

I am a new landlord and need information regarding the program. Please call (831) 454-9455, ext. 217. The Housing Authority is making it easier for landlords to get assistance with paperwork or to answer questions associated with the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8).  If you prefer to contact the Housing Authority by email, send your questions directly to the Property Management Department at landlords@hacosantacruz.org. The Property Management Department will answer your question by phone or email within one business day. Direct fax line:  For landlords who prefer to fax paperwork in, we have a direct fax line dedicated to the Property Management Department at (831)469-0136. Direct phone line: Landlords may also call the landlord phone line at (831) 454-9455, ext. 357 for help with any questions or follow up on any open matters.  All calls to this phone line will be returned the same day.

Are rent increases still being processed?  Yes. HUD has information and samples on repayment agreements to avoid costly and disruptive evictions. Click here for a flyer for landlords.

For households on the Waiting List or who have recently been invited to submit their application

I’m on the waiting list; how do I let you know my situation has changed?  All changes to your mailing address or phone number must be reported in writing. You may complete and submit a Waiting List Status form to report changes. Most forms are available here. You can also send your changes by FAX, mail, or the drop-box located outside our office door.

Are new vouchers being issued? While regular waiting list admissions are temporarily postponed, we are continuing to issue homeless targeted vouchers and  special program vouchers: including Veterans Assisted Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) , Disabled Medically Vulnerable Homeless, Homeless Families with Minor Children, Shelter Plus Care, Homeless Youth with Disabilities ( New Roots), and Family Unification Program (FUP) .  Once the Housing Authority is ready to resume regular waiting list admissions, we will pick-up where the process left off and resume determining your eligibility for program participation. We will contact you, so you do not need to call us.

My documents are due during the office closure. What should I do?  You can mail, fax, email, or drop documents in the Housing Authority drop box; if you need more time, extensions will be granted.

When is my initial eligibility or briefing appointment going to be rescheduled? We are currently conducting these appointments and briefings by phone  and are contacting applicants when we are ready to process their application.

For households with an active voucher, searching for housing

I have a voucher but it’s hard for me to search for a new unit because of the Shelter in Place order.  Will I be given an extension of my voucher, so I can have more time to search for a new unit?  Yes, all vouchers that expired as of March 13th or on a date that falls within the Shelter in Place order issued by the County of Santa Cruz will automatically be extended to the end of the Shelter in Place order. When the Shelter in Place order is lifted, the voucher will be extended  the number of days the voucher was affected by the Shelter in Place order plus an additional 30 days.

I have a voucher and I found a unit with a landlord who will accept the voucher.  Can I process my new move-in during the Shelter in Place directive? Yes, please submit your Request for Tenancy Approval (RTA) by mail, fax, email, or the drop box outside our office. We are temporarily extending the time allowed to execute the HAP contract.

Will my unit have an initial inspection conducted?  Yes, we are doing in person inspections for vacant units only.  If you have already moved in, or if you live in a large multi-family apartment building where we cannot conduct a vacant unit inspection utilizing social distancing, we can still do an initial inspection, but it will be done remotely using either Face Time or Google Duo. We can temporarily accept the landlord/owner self-certification

Can I request a Security Deposits for various parts of the County?  Yes, we have funding available for all parts of the County.  Please call our Security Deposit Program information line at (831) 454-9455, ext. 321.

How can I reach the Housing Authority while your offices are closed?

E-mail:  info@hacosantacruz.org

Call Center: (831) 454-5955. Monday –Thursday, 8:00 to 4:30 PM. Please leave a message and staff will return your call.

FAX
Main Fax Number:  (831) 469-3712
Property Management Fax Number:  (831) 469-0136

Drop box: Payments and documents can be dropped off at our office any time by using the drop box located to the left of our main entrance at 2160 41st Avenue, Capitola 95010.

Leasing Specialist for Landlords: (831) 454-9455, ext. 217

Phone Calls

As of Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the Housing Authority is no longer taking calls on our main phone lines, but you will be able to leave a message Monday – Thursday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. If you know your party’s extension you may call, as some staff are working in the office. All of our staff (including those working in the office and those working remotely) will be checking messages and returning calls throughout the day. Or, for a faster response, you may email your question to us at info@hacosantacruz.org. Your email will be routed to the appropriate staff who will follow up on your question. We are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls and requests, and we are doing our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Reasonable Accommodation (RA)

Please use the forms on our website to make a special request for a person with disabilities. Make requests as early as possible and be specific about what you are requesting. Please do not include any information about a disability diagnosis. Be sure the form is complete before you submit it to the Housing Authority. Most forms are available here.

Ensure that health care providers, case managers, and/or social workers are aware of your needs and know that the Housing Authority will be sending a verification form to their office. Check the Housing Authority website form section under Special Needs to find the form that best fits your situation. You may contact the Information Center to have forms sent to you, or call (831) 454-9455, ext. 317 and leave a message asking that a form be sent to you.

Please contact our Information Center at (831) 454-5955 for all other inquiries. You may also email info@hacosantacruz.org.

Thank you for your understanding as we do our part to help curb transmission of COVID-19.

HUD is allowing PHAs some flexibility during this crisis. Click here for a list of waivers the Housing Authority has adopted.

Last Updated: August 10, 2020