James Coronado tells how Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s Section 8 program helped him.

James Coronado tells how Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s Section 8 program helped him.

Local landlords recently got a preview of the suite of all-new and ongoing incentives to participate in the Section 8 affordable housing program through the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB).

Attendees at the informational luncheon on Sept. 25 also heard from participating landlords and tenants about their experiences with the Section 8 voucher program.

For the first time in four years, HACSB re-opened applications for Section 8 affordable housing vouchers. HACSB directly pays landlords a housing subsidy on behalf of the participating residents.

Local landlords are key to the success of the program and many attended the informational luncheon at Grace Village Apartments on upper State Street. 

“We’re here to ask you to open up any extra units in your apartment complexes or homes and to consider our Section 8 voucher holders,” said Rob Fredericks, HACSB executive director/CEO.

“We have about 100 voucher holders out on the street now looking for places to live, and there aren’t 100 vacancies,” he said.

“There are low-income seniors on social security, working families and people who are disabled and need supportive services. These are people we need to help,” he said.

On Oct. 1, HACSB re-opened online applications for its Section 8 program, which assists low-income working families, the elderly and the disabled afford decent, safe housing in the private market.

Among the many residents who have found success through the Section 8 program is James Coronado, a local father of six and teacher.

Describing himself as part of a working family, Coronado said with some extra pushes from HACSB staff, he recently earned a master’s degree and has gone onto become a homeowner.

“I’m living proof that the program does work,” said Coronado.

New incentives available to participating landlords include:

» Vacancy loss payments for landlords leasing to a HACSB Section 8 tenant in a unit being vacated by another HACSB Section 8 participant.

» Signing bonus of $500 for new landlords (has not signed up a new Section 8 participant since January 2015 at a particular property/complex) leasing up a Section 8 participant with a city issued voucher.

» Referral bonus — $100 to an individual referring a new landlord who successfully executes a Housing Assistance Payment contract, by leasing a unit to a participant on HACSB’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

Previous incentives that remain available to landlords and Section 8 residents include Damage Protection reimbursement of up to $2,000 for unpaid unit damages; owner requested inspections initiated by health and safety concerns; online portal providing landlords and managers with access to Housing Assistance Payment records; Security Deposit Loans; and Family Service Agency Supportive Services Referrals.

Local landlord Richard Moerler has been taking part in HACSB’s Section 8 program since 1972.

“The average Section 8 tenant is really grateful to be in the program,” said Moerler. “I’ve always found the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara staff to be helpful and available to help me resolve any problems.”

Due to his positive experience with the program, today 41 of Moerler’s rental units are available to Section 8 tenants.

HACSB is committed to providing low-income households with the tools needed to succeed and become self-sufficient to the greatest extent possible as well as providing its participating property owners and managers with the necessary information and customer service for a successful Section 8 tenancy.

Landlords can contact Jerry Morales at 805-897-1049 or jrmorales@hacsb.org for more information.

Tenant applications for Section 8 are available at https://hacsbwaitlist.org/landing Oct. 1.

For more about HACSB, visit www.hacsb.org.

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist for Housing Authority for the City of Santa Barbara.