General Housing Programs and Rental Information About Affordable Rental Housing Applicants and Residents Property Owners and Landlords (HCV Program)
General
What is Fresno Housing?

Fresno Housing is a public agency that helps nearly 50,000 low- and moderate-income residents, including seniors and the disabled, afford safe and quality housing.

What does Fresno Housing do?

It administers diverse affordable housing and homeless programs funded by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the State of California. The agency’s mission is to build strong communities by providing quality housing and empowerment opportunities to eligible individuals and families in partnership with community resource providers.

How does Fresno Housing help residents afford decent housing?

Fresno Housing manages a variety of programs that help offset the housing costs confronted by Fresno residents with incomes substantially below the local median income. Fresno Housing works with nonprofit and for-profit developers to expand the supply of affordable housing and also purchases and manages numerous affordable housing developments throughout the city and county. Additionally, Fresno Housing empowers residents to improve their career goals through programs such as Family Self Sufficiency (FSS).

Who is in charge of Fresno Housing?

Fresno Housing is led by two Boards of Commissioners – the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Fresno and the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of Fresno County – each with seven members. 

The Executive Director of Fresno Housing reports to both boards and oversees the day-to-day operations of both agencies. 

Approximately 240 employees are involved in carrying out Fresno Housing’s mandates and programs.

How is Fresno Housing funded?

The majority of funds come from the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD regulates and provides funding for most of the programs administered by Fresno Housing, including Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers (formerly Section 8), and Shelter Plus Care. Fresno Housing also generates income from its properties and can apply for a variety of grants as well as federal, state, and local funds to supplement its core funding. The Boards of Commissioners approve budget plans and oversees fiscal plans and expenditures.


What is the income level for most people receiving assistance from Fresno Housing?

Sixty-two percent (62%) of households receiving housing assistance (vouchers or rental properties) fall in the very low-income category – earning less than 30 percent of the local median income in Fresno County. (Median income in Fresno County is approximately $55,500; persons earning less than 30 percent of median income earn less than $12,150 per year).

How do residents get support to achieve self-sufficiency and independence?

Fresno Housing has numerous programs, after-school activities, workshops, and classes, to assist families in improving their economic and educational status. View our calendar for specific events. 

Topics:

  • Parenting 
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress Management
  • Workforce Development
  • Financial Management
  • Budgeting/Credit
  • Early Home-Buyer
  • Predatory Lending
  • Foreclosure Prevention
Where are Fresno Housing properties located?

Fresno Housing owns and manages dozens of properties throughout the city of Fresno and also in Fresno County.  Visit the Properties page for additional information.

What is Section 3, and who are Section 3 Workers and Businesses?

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968, Section 3 Program, is intended to bolster local economic development, improve neighborhood economics, and promote individual and family self-sufficiency.  This program ensures that employment and economic opportunities generated by certain HUD financial assistance can be directed, to the greatest extent feasible, to Section 3 Workers and Businesses.

Section 3 Workers are individuals who (1) are a public housing  or Housing Choice Voucher resident, or (2) are a low- or very low-income individual, or (3) are a Youth Build Participant, or (4) are employed by a Section 3 Business.  Workers and employers can visit HUD’s Opportunity Portal developed to match Workers with employment opportunities.

Section 3 Businesses are (1) at least 51% owned by low- or very low-income persons, or (2) have greater than 75% of labor hours performed by Section 3 Workers, or (3) are greater than/equal to 51% controlled by current residents of public housing or Section 8-assisted housing.  Visit HUD’s Business Registry for more information.

Housing Programs and Rental Information
How does Fresno Housing help low- and moderate-income families pay their rent?

Fresno Housing provides Housing Choice Vouchers that pay part of a family’s rent and ensure that low- and moderate-income families don’t pay an excessive portion of their income for housing. Fresno Housing also has programs specifically designed to address the needs of particular populations such as farm workers, the homeless, and residents with physical and/or mental challenges.

How much of a renter’s housing costs does Fresno Housing cover?

The amount of subsidy a family receives from Fresno Housing depends largely on the size and income of the family. In the Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly Section 8), participants pay approximately 30 to 40 percent of their adjusted gross income in rent directly to the property owner. The balance of the rent amount is paid by Fresno Housing.  Each program has unique requirements.

How does someone apply for a Housing Choice Voucher or for an apartment in a Fresno Housing-owned building?

There is currently a waiting list for Fresno Housing-owned apartments and for the Housing Choice Vouchers program.   For the most up to date information visit our Housing Opportunities page.

Do some people get priority over other families waiting for rentals?

Fresno Housing gives preference to the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and local residents, as well as those with special situations.


Must people live at a property owned by Fresno Housing to receive rental assistnace?

No. While Fresno Housing owns and manages various types of affordable housing properties throughout Fresno County, the majority of residents served by Fresno Housing are assisted through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and can choose from a range of privately-owned housing throughout the county.

Do residents of Fresno Housing owned properties and Housing Choice Voucher holders have to be U.S. citizens?

No. Noncitizens can live in Fresno Housing-owned apartments and can also live with family members who have Housing Choice Vouchers. At least one member of the household must be a U.S. citizen. (Rental assistance amounts, however, reflect the number of U.S. citizens in the household.)

Does Fresno Housing provide special support for farmworkers?

Yes. Fresno Housing owns farm labor housing complexes in Orange Cove, Mendota, Parlier, and Fresno. Legal residents who derive at least half of their income from farm-related sources are eligible for housing assistance in these complexes. This program is supported by grants from the Rural Development Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Fresno Housing also manages two migrant farmworker complexes, supported by grants from the State of California’s Office of Migrant Services and/or the USDA – one in Firebaugh and one in Parlier. These complexes are occupied from April through October and can be rented by farmworkers who have resided at least 50 miles away from the center for 90 days during the timeframe the center is closed.

What to do if I get “Save my Spot” email notification?

It is important that you login to your Resident Portal account and select the “Save My Spot” button before the deadline in order to remain on the Interest List. Otherwise, your name will be removed.   

Directions:

  • Go to www.fresnohousing.org/onlineapplication 
  • Type your email address in the corresponding box. 
  • Type your password in the corresponding box. 
  • Click on “Sign In” Click on the “Save My Spot” icon. 
  • Click on the box below the column named “Save my Spot” for the property desired. 
  • Click on “Save.” Note: Once you click “Save” the list will disappear from the screen.

If you need to find your username, please send an email to applicantportal@fresnohousing.org

To reset your password, go to login page and select Reset Password

About Affordable Rental Housing
What is affordable or public housing?

Affordable Rental Housing or Public housing is housing that is built, operated, and owned by a government agency, and provides units at lower-than-market rate rents to qualified low-income individuals and families.  Fresno Housing owns and/or manages several different types of affordable housing, including public housing properties.  

Who lives in affordable housing?

Low-income families and individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements live in affordable housing. Each type of housing has specific rules, for Public Housing, eligibility is based on annual gross income; status as a family, a senior, or as a person with a disability; U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status; and financial sustainability. Fresno Housing checks references to confirm that an applicant will be a good tenant; this includes criminal background checks. Applications will be denied if an applicant’s habits and practices will have a detrimental effect on other tenants or on the housing complex’s environment.

What are the income limits?

Income limits are subject to change without notice.  For the most current information, visit our Additional Resources page. 

 

How does the application process work?

Applicants are placed on the “pre-application waitlist” by submitting an online application and are then contacted by Fresno Housing staff for prescreening interviews as vacancies occur in the appropriate or designated bedroom size unit based on family composition. Applicants may designate a geographic preference and will be offered the first available unit that meets specified preferences.  Please visit our Application Process page for the most current information.


Does an applicant need to provide any documentation?

Yes. Fresno Housing will request documentation needed to verify the information provided on an application (birth certificates, tax returns, etc.) and might also contact an applicant’s employer. Applicants will be asked to sign a form authorizing the release of pertinent information to Fresno Housing.  Please visit our Application Process page for the most current information and a list of required documents.

What needs to happen before occupying a unit?

If an apartment is offered and accepted, the applicant must sign a lease with Fresno Housing and provide a security deposit and first month’s rent.

What are myths vs. reality about affordable housing?

Some believe affordable housing is only for poor people and drives down the quality of communities. Learn the real truth.

Affordable Housing Myths

Applicants and Residents
What is included in the determination of a family’s annual income?

When determining a family’s annual income, Fresno Housing must consider the program type and all wages and salaries, overtime pay, commissions, fees, tips, bonuses, compensation for personal services, and all information defined in the HUD’s Title 24 Code of Federal Regulations #5.609. Annual income is a family’s anticipated total or gross earnings minus allowable “exclusions.”

The formula is basically:

Total/Gross Income – Exclusions = Annual Income

For more information contact Fresno Housing.

What is adjusted income and how does it differ from a family’s annual income?

Adjusted income is the amount a family earns minus mandatory deductions.

Annual Income – Deductions = Adjusted Income

Mandatory deductions include amounts for dependents, status as an elderly or disabled family, unreimbursed child care expenses, unreimbursed medical expenses for elderly or disabled families, and unreimbursed disability assistance expenses.

What is the difference between income-based rent and flat rent in public housing?

Income-based rent is determined by a family’s income and Fresno Housing’s policies for determining rent. Unlike income-based rents, flat rents remain stable regardless of changes in family income. Flat rents are based on the market rent charged for similar units in the private rental market. It is equal to the estimated rent for which Fresno Housing could lease the unit. The flat rent is designed to encourage families to become economically self-sufficient.


Can Fresno Housing give families living in housing owned by the agency the option to pay either income-based rent or flat rent?

Once a year, Fresno Housing gives each family living in Public Housing the opportunity to choose between the two methods for determining the amount of rent to be paid by the family. Except for financial hardship cases, the family may not be offered this choice more than once each year and does not apply to all program types.

Property Owners and Landlords (HCV Program)
How do I rent my unit to a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) participant?

Please see our Becoming a Landlord page for the most current information.  If you are interested in renting to Housing Choice Voucher participants, list your unit (apartment or house) at GoSection8.com. Potential landlords are encouraged to include their willingness to participate in the HCV Program in all forms of advertising. Voucher participants will contact you directly if they are interested in your property. If a family or individual with a voucher successfully completes your screening process, you will be asked to complete a Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) packet provided by the Voucher participant. These forms should be submitted to Fresno Housing.

If I rent to one Voucher participant, do all my units have to be under the Program?

No. Property owners retain the right to screen prospective tenants and select the best tenant for each of their units, whether they are Voucher participants or not.

Does Fresno Housing screen tenants?

Fresno Housing screens tenants in relation to income eligibility for the Housing Choice Voucher Program and performs criminal background checks in some circumstances. Screening for tenant suitability remains the responsibility of the property owner. Owners are advised to ask all prospective tenants for their Social Security number, references, current and previous landlords, credit history, employment history, and criminal record, and to check the information carefully.

When checking references it is advisable to ask for the name and contact information of a previous landlord as well as any current landlord.

If I sign the Request for Tenancy Approval (RFTA) form, am I committed to renting to the family?

No. The Request for Tenancy Approval form is simply your “intention” to rent to the tenant and sets the terms for the tenancy. Either party may withdraw from the process before a lease or contract is executed. Your lease will be a binding agreement between you and your tenant and should not be signed until you are ready

How much money will Fresno Housing pay for my unit?

Fresno Housing will review your proposed rent amount (listed by you on the Request for Tenancy Approval form) to ensure it is “reasonable” by using a “rent reasonableness study” which is based on market-rate rents in the area.  Fresno Housing will also determine if the rent amount is affordable for the Voucher participant by ensuring that it falls between 30 percent and 40 percent of the Voucher participant’s total adjusted income.

If the rent is not affordable, Fresno Housing will work with you to reach an agreeable contract amount that is within the affordability of the Voucher participant. The tenant’s portion of the rent is based on the difference between the contract rent amount and the Payment Standards, and must not exceed 40% of the Voucher participant’s total adjusted income.

Who pays the security deposit?

While not required, Fresno Housing strongly encourages property owners to collect a security deposit from the Voucher participant. The security deposit cannot exceed the amounts collected from non-HCV tenants and must be in line with California law.

Fresno Housing has no responsibility for damages, unpaid tenant rent, or other claims you might have against your tenant.

How do I get an inspection of my unit and what do you look for during the inspection?

Fresno Housing will contact you to schedule and conduct a Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection within 10 working days of receipt of the Request for Tenancy Approval and upon agreement regarding the contract rent amount as supported by a rent reasonableness study and affordability determination for the Voucher participant.

When should I allow the Voucher participant to move into my unit?

Unless the Voucher participant is currently leasing the unit in question, he/she should not move into the unit until after it passes inspection and a lease between owner and participant is executed. Fresno Housing will not pay any rent for a unit that has not passed inspection. If the property owner permits the tenant to move into the unit, the tenant will be responsible for the full amount of the rent and Fresno Housing will not pay the back amount retroactively.

What happens after my unit passes the initial inspections?

Fresno Housing will prepare a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract which is a legally binding document between the property owner and Fresno Housing.

When will I be paid?

No payments will be made until after the unit has passed inspections and both the property owner and Fresno Housing have signed the HAP contract, and the tenant has moved into the unit under contract. The property owner will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the HAP contract.


Can my HAP check be direct deposited into my bank account?

Yes. Fresno Housing encourages direct deposit for quick and efficient payment. The initial payment is usually in check form until the direct deposit enrollment process is completed.

Can my tenant pay the extra rent to make up the amount I want for my unit?

No. Fresno Housing determines the tenant’s portion of the contract rent.  Your tenant may jeopardize the housing assistance if he/she pays extra rent.

Who takes care of tenant-caused damages during the tenancy?

As in all tenancies, repairs for tenant-caused damages are the responsibility of the tenant. Failure to make repairs may be grounds to terminate the lease and participation in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The security deposit may also be used for reimbursement costs.

Property owners should bill tenants directly (if the tenant still resides in the unit) or take the amount from the security deposit (if the tenant has moved).  If the security deposit is insufficient, Fresno Housing recommends pursuing the tenant in court.  If, as a result of court action, there is a “for-cause” judgment, the property owner should provide Fresno Housing with a copy so the tenant can be held responsible.

What would cause my rent to be abated (stopped)?

Fresno Housing is required to inspect units annually. Rent is abated (stopped) when units fail to pass on two consecutive inspections. The unit will be taken out of abatement if it passes the third and final inspection. To help ensure your unit passes the first time, review the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspection.

How much time do I have to make repairs if my unit fails inspection?

For routine, non-emergency deficiencies, the property owner is given up to 30 days to make the needed repairs. For emergency items, the property owner or tenant has 24 hours to make the repairs. Rent is abated the first day of the month following the deadline for having repairs completed. No rent can be paid during the period of abatement.

The contract has been canceled, but the tenant is still living in my unit. Can I get paid?

No. The Voucher participant is responsible for all the rent once the contract is canceled.

How do I terminate the tenancy of a Housing Choice Voucher tenant?

Your remedies are exactly like any remedies property owners have in the private market. It is the owners’ responsibility to enforce the lease and take whatever remedies are available under the lease and state law. During the first year, you must have cause to terminate the lease. Following the first year, if a new lease is not signed, cause is not necessary. If you decide to end the tenancy without cause at the end of the lease term, as required by law, you must provide a 90-day notice to your subsidized tenants.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides excellent information on landlord-tenant matters, or you can consult with an attorney for further guidance on this issue.

Always provide a copy of any eviction notice to Fresno Housing at the same time you notify the tenant.

What do I need to do to evict my tenant?

Fresno Housing cannot provide legal advice. The California Department of Consumer Affairs provides excellent information on landlord-tenant matters, or you can consult with an attorney for further guidance on this issue.

What happens to the Housing Choice Voucher participant if I have to evict the tenant?

If a property owner goes through the proper eviction procedure (per state law) and successfully evicts the tenant, he/she should provide Fresno Housing with a copy of the eviction. In turn, Fresno Housing will advise the Housing Choice Voucher participant in writing of the intent to terminate the housing assistance due to noncompliance with the lease, and provide him/her with due process in the form of an Informal Hearing.

May I rent my property under the Housing Choice Voucher Program to a relative?

Federal regulations do not allow Fresno Housing to subsidize the rent of any participant if the property owner is the parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, or brother of any member of the participant’s household unless as a reasonable accommodation for a family member with disabilities.