SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The City of Santa Monica Housing Authority (SMHA) now has stronger tools to assist tenants with obtaining affordable housing.
Santa Monica rents have increased well above Federal program limits, making rental assistance vouchers noncompetitive in the housing market. In response, the SMHA sought approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to significantly increase the amount paid for housing subsidies – and last week HUD agreed. Advocating on the SMHA’s behalf were U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Santa Monica City Councilmembers, and the Santa Monica Housing Commission.
Rental assistance vouchers help extremely low-income households, including seniors, persons living with disabilities, and families, close the gap between the available income and market rent.
“This new subsidy standard allows program participants to compete in the housing market and will help Santa Monica preserve its inclusive and diverse community,” said Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez.
Timing for approval of the higher payment standard could not be better, as the City Council recently approved the HOUSE (Housing Opportunities Utilizing Subsidy Enhancements) program to incentivize owners to participate in SMHA voucher programs. The main incentive offered involves a $5,000 signing bonus when a vacant, rent-controlled apartment is leased to qualifying tenants with a SMHA voucher. HOUSE program funding provides for 45 signing bonuses. The SMHA is developing implementation details for the voucher and HOUSE programs and expects to notify landlords of opportunities in June. For more information, please contact Jim Kemper at (310) 458-8702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.