Information for Applicants

About the Program
Program Eligibility
How to Apply

INFORMATION FOR CURRENT PARTICIPANTS

How to Pay Rent
Maintenance and Inspections
Pet Policy
Grievance Policy
General Program Forms
LIPH Family Self Sufficiency Program
Community Service Requirement
Capital Fund Planning
Reporting Program Fraud and Abuse
Information and Forms for People with Special Needs
Smoke Free Housing
Questions?

INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS

About the Program

The Low Income Public Housing Program (LIPH) is a national rental assistance program funded and monitored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low income families. There are over a million families living in public housing nationally, including over two hundred families living in public housing here in Santa Cruz County.

Participants in LIPH rent a townhouse style apartment owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz. Tenants pay rent directly to the Housing Authority, and may choose to pay either an income based rent (which is equal to approximately 30% of their household income) or a fixed flat rent which is similar to market rent.

LIPH properties are located in small, well designed complexes that blend in with the neighborhood, and are located throughout Santa Cruz County. The units are clean and well-maintained townhouse style apartments with porches or patios, and many are grouped around a central play area. Residents in LIPH units enjoy a quick response to maintenance requests, annual unit inspections to ensure units remain in good shape, and friendly bilingual staff to answer questions and resolve issues. Pets are allowed within certain limitations.

In the LIPH program, the housing assistance is tied to the public housing unit, so families in Low Income Public Housing must remain in one of the Housing Authority’s public housing units to continue to participate in the program and receive housing assistance.

To learn more about the Low Income Public Housing Program and view photos of LIPH properties and units, please see our program brochure.

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Program Eligibility

The Low Income Public Housing Program (LIPH) is limited to low income families, whose household income is less than 80% of the Median Family Income by household size. Income limits are adjusted annually by HUD. While assistance is generally offered on a first come first served basis, (based on the date of application for households that match the size of the vacant unit), the Housing Authority does have a veterans preference for the LIPH program pursuant to the requirements of the California Health and Safety Code, Section 34322.2. This means that qualifying LIPH applicant households that contain at least one current serviceperson, veteran, or surviving spouse of a veteran will advance to the top of the LIPH waiting list. When there is more than one qualifying household with the veterans preference for a given unit size, assistance will be offered based on the date of the application.

The Housing Authority will collect information on the citizenship / immigration status of each household member. The level of assistance provided (and therefore the monthly rent of the household) will be prorated based on the percentage of citizens and legal residents in the household. For example, households where all members are citizens or legal residents will receive full assistance, but a household with two members who are citizens or legal residents and another two members who do not contend to have eligible immigration status would only receive 50% of the level of assistance they would otherwise have received (and therefore they will pay higher rent). Please note that all adults must provide a United States government issued photo identification card and a Social Security card in order for the Housing Authority to conduct the tenant screening described below. For more information see our webpage on citizenship and immigration requirements.

In addition to income and citizenship / immigration eligibility requirements, the Housing Authority conducts careful screening of applications for tenants in the LIPH program. Screening for LIPH tenants includes a criminal background check (including registered sex offender status), a review of previous landlord references, a credit check, and a housekeeping inspection of your current home.

Eligibility of applicants is not determined until applicants reach the top of the waiting list. At that time, applicants will be asked to provide documentation of income, assets, identity, Social Security Number, citizenship or immigration status, and any other information necessary to determine program eligibility.

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How to Apply

There are many more low-income families interested in public housing than there are public housing units available. Therefore, the Housing Authority maintains a waiting list for assistance. The wait for assistance can be very long, typically several years. To add your name, see our Low Income Public Housing waiting list.

When vacancies occur, the Housing Authority must fill the vacancy with a family that has the right number of household members to match the vacant unit. The Housing Authority will process applications of appropriately sized families for each vacancy in the order received. Therefore, there will be differences in the waiting time depending on the size of the unit your family is waiting for, and depending on how many LIPH units of that size exist within the County.

If you are already on the waiting list, please understand that your wait for assistance may be long. We cannot predict when your name will reach the top of the Waiting List, as it depends on when current program participants leave the program, the size of units that become available, and the household size of applicants approaching the top of the Waiting List. It is typical for families to wait years for housing assistance.

For more information about the number of families waiting for assistance, see our waiting list statistics. For other Waiting List forms or to notify us of changes to your address, see our waiting list forms.

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Information for Current Participants

To ensure our compliance with all required HUD regulations, provide transparency of program administration, and to promote the safety of all LIPH tenants, policies have been established that all tenants must follow. Many of these polices are provided in the following two documents;

LIPH Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, and the LIPH rental agreement. Additional information for LIPH program participants is provided below.

How to Pay Rent
Maintenance and Inspections
Pet Policy
Grievance Policy
General Program Forms
LIPH Family Self Sufficiency Program
Community Service Requirement
Capital Fund Planning
Reporting Program Fraud and Abuse
Information and Forms for People with Special Needs
Smoke Free Housing
Questions?

How to Pay Rent

The Housing Authority sends a monthly statement to each tenant indicating the rent owed along with any other charges or balances due.

Rent is due and payable on the first (1st) day of each month. Rent is considered late if it is not received by 5:00 pm on the fifth (5th). Habitual late payment of rent will result in eviction. Rent payments must be in the form of a check or money order only, cash will not be accepted. Payments may be mailed to the Housing Authority’s main office or placed in the drop box in our lobby or outside our building to the right of the main entrance. LIPH tenants should place payment in an envelope and indicate Unit Address and Head of Household Name to ensure that the Housing Authority credits the right account.

South County tenants may bring rent payments to the Watsonville branch of Santa Cruz County Bank. All South County tenants should have received a rent coupon book that may be used to deliver rent payments to the bank. The coupons identify a particular unit so that the Housing Authority can credit the correct account. Tenants may use only one coupon per month to make rent payments. Rent payments will not be accepted at the bank without your individual coupon.

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Maintenance and Inspections

Please report all maintenance problems immediately. For emergencies, including major leaks, floods, and broken windows or doors, call the Housing Authority promptly at our 24 hour emergency maintenance line at (831) 763-3524.

If your maintenance problem is not an emergency, please submit your maintenance request online, or submit your request in writing to the Housing Authority main office.

In addition to maintenance repairs that are conducted on an as needed basis, each LIPH unit will be inspected once a year by a Housing Authority inspector. From time to time, units may also be inspected by an inspector from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or another agency. Tenants will receive advance written notice before all inspections. For more information, see our Inspections Q&A.

Pet Policy

The Housing Authority permits tenants to own pets in accordance with our Pet Policy. You can download a Pet Application here.

LIPH Family Self Sufficiency Program

The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz administers a Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program to help families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. The FSS program has a program size of 25 slots, available on a first come first served basis to all families currently residing in public housing. For information, see our webpage about the LIPH Family Self Sufficiency Program.

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Community Service Requirement

All adult members of LIPH households must complete a minimum of 8 hours per month of community service or self-sufficiency activities unless they meet the exemption criteria listed below.

Community service activities may be completed at any agency that provides activities that are a public benefit, and that serve to improve the quality of life, enhance resident self-sufficiency, or increase resident self- responsibility in the community. Political activities may not be counted as community service. Example of eligible community services includes, but is not limited to: schools, hospitals, local community, non-profit agencies, homeless shelters, recreation centers, senior centers, food banks. These are listed as suggestions; it is the tenants’ choice where they perform their community services. Economic self-sufficiency activities include job training, employment counseling, work placement, basic skills training, education (junior college, college), English proficiency, workfare, financial or household management, apprenticeship, and any program necessary to ready a participant for work (including a substance abuse or mental health treatment program), or other work activities.

Each adult who is required to to complete community service or self sufficiency activities must document their hours on a timesheet which will be reviewed each year at the time of annual re-examination.

Adults who meet any of the following categories are exempt from this requirement.

  • Engaged in work, education, or job training for at least 8 hours per month
  • Age 62 or older
  • Blind or disabled
  • Caregiver to a family member who is blind or disabled

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Capital Fund Planning

The Housing Authority receives funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to perform long-term upgrades to its Low Income Public Housing sites. If you are a low income public housing resident and you have suggestions for upgrades you would like to see at your complex, please send us a letter or an email and be sure to include your name, address, and phone number.

Reporting Program Fraud and Abuse

The federal government and the Housing Authority take action against those committing program fraud. The Housing Authority has established a Program Integrity unit specifically to investigate and take action against those who commit program violations. Please go to this web site’s section on Program Fraud for more information or to report fraud.

Information and Forms for People with Special Needs

If you are a person with disabilities and you have special needs related to a Housing Authority program, please see the Special Needs Q&A and the Special Needs section of the Forms page.

Smoke Free Housing

All LIPH properties are smoke free both inside all buildings and up to 25 feet from all buildings on public housing grounds. A smoke free environment offers documented health benefits of smoke free environments, visit www.smokefree.gov

Questions?

For answers to more of your questions about searching for a place to rent, please see our Questions & Answers page.