Tips for making a special request:
- Fill out a Special Request Form or call our Info Line.
- Make requests as early as possible.
- Be specific about what you are requesting.
- Make sure your health care provider or social worker is aware of your needs and knows that we will be sending a verification form to his/her office.
What kind of assistance do you offer for persons with disabilities?
The Housing Authority of the County of Santa Cruz has a limited preference for disabled and medically vulnerable homeless persons. Currently, a maximum of 40 households may receive the preference at any given time. If you think you might qualify as a disabled and medically vulnerable homeless person, you will need to take a survey (called a Vulnerability Index), through the 180/180 Campaign, which is a campaign to provide housing for the County’s most vulnerable homeless persons. Click here to find out how you can take the Vulnerability Index Survey.
When you apply for or begin receiving assistance from the Housing Authority, our staff can also help with special needs such as:
- Authorizing someone else to speak to us, receive mail, or sign papers on your behalf.
- Requests for extensions of important deadlines if the delay was related to a disability.
- Requests for a live-in aide, which is a person who is required by your disability to live in your home and assist you.
- Requests to rent a unit from a relative if you are unable to find another unit with the special features you require.
- Requests for an extra bedroom to store oversized medical equipment or provide extra space related to the disabilities.
- Other special needs
How Do I Make a Request?
Complete the appropriate Special Request Form, or call our Info Line to make your request verbally if you cannot complete the form.
Once we get the request, we will send your health care provider or social worker a form directly to verify the need. Please make sure that person is is aware of your needs and understands how important it is to provide as much detail as possible on our form and return it quickly. Your health care provider or social worker cannot give the form to you – he or she must send it directly to us.
When will I know if my request has been approved?
This depends on how long it takes your health care provider or social worker to respond. Most requests take over 30 days to process. We will send you a letter notifying you of our decision. Approving a special request can result in you receiving more rental assistance that would otherwise be used to help another family. For this reason, we require thorough documentation of the need and we will verify that that the accommodation is being used .
What are the requirements for live-in aides?
A live-in aide (LIA) cannot be someone who would normally live with you as part of your family or support you financially. A LIA is an employee who you hire to provide care.
Your health care provider or social worker must verify that you need a LIA to perform essential tasks related to your disability during nighttime hours.
You may not charge rent to a LIA.
A LIA does not have any rights to the voucher and is not considered part of the assisted household.
A LIA’s income is not counted as part of your household income.
A LIA must live with you full-time and document that he/she does not have another residence.
You do not need our approval for daytime help, only for a LIA to live with you.
What are the requirements for renting from a relative?
You are only allowed to rent from a relative if:
- Your health care provider or social worker verifies that you need special features due to a disability, and
- You complete a Housing Search Form to show that you tried to find another unit and that your needs can be met only by your relative’s unit.
How can I get a larger unit or an extra bedroom?
Granting extra bedrooms mean that you get more rental assistance that could otherwise help another family. Extra bedrooms are approved in limited situations for:
- Large medical equipment
- Certain conditions that make it impossible for two people to share a room.
When can I get an extension of my voucher expiration date?
Extensions due to a disability are only granted if your health care provider or social worker documents the dates when your disability prevented you from searching for a rental. There is no guarantee that extensions will be granted. If you do not lease up by the deadline, you could lose your voucher. Continue your housing search and document every unit you contact on a Housing Search Form.
If you are searching for a unit, do not assume that your request will be approved! Continue your housing search. You might not get an extension on your voucher simply because you were waiting for approval of your request.