Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Santa Monica Housing Authority (SMHA) assists approximately 1,200 qualified very low-income households annually with rent subsidies using federally-funded Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers.

To participate in the voucher program, households must apply and be screened for eligibility. Applications were last accepted in 2011, when the SMHA received more than 33,000 applications! The wait list is currently closed. It will open January 31, 2017, 8am to 8pm and only online applications will be accepted. Computer training and online application assistance is available – see FAQ below.

Applicants meeting either of the following criteria are prioritized on the wait list:

  • will be/have been displaced from housing in Santa Monica due to the Ellis Act, owner-occupancy, code enforcement, disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) or domestic violence; or
  • live or work in Santa Monica 

Applicants fitting one of the priorities above will be further prioritized if a member of the household is: 

  • a veteran; and/or
  • either elderly, living with a disability, employed full time, or the family has minor children in Santa Monica schools; and/or
  • more than half of the total household income is paid toward rent and not already in subsidized housing

Once the application period has ended, the top 500 priority households will become the new wait list. Applicants selected from wait list for voucher consideration will be screened for:

  1. verification of priority status
  2. income eligibility
  3. criminal background

Participants accepted into the program are recertified annually.

The Santa Monica Housing Authority wait list will open January 31, 2017, 8am to 8pm.

Apply Here January 31, 2017 8am - 8pm

Frequently Asked Questions

What information do I need to complete an application?

Applicants should provide the namesdates of birth, and Social Security numbers for all people in the household, as well as information about household income and assets.  Types of income include wages, military pay, pensions, social security, SSI, welfare, child support, unemployment income, business or professional income and any other source of income. Types of assets include checking and savings accounts, stock, bonds, CDs, pension funds, real estate, cash, trust funds, and investments.

What is the maximum total household income to be eligible?

Applications for the waitlist will be considered for both a rental subsidy program. Your annual gross income by household size (including children) must be below these limits:

Family Size Maximum Annual Income
1 Person $30,400
2 Persons $34,750
3 Persons $39,100
4 Persons $43,400
5 Persons $46,900
6 Persons $50,350
7 Persons $53,850
8 Persons $57,300

(These limits are adjusted annually)

For what reasons might I not be eligible?

Registered sex offenders and persons with a history of violent criminal behavior are not eligible.

Former participants of Housing programs that left in bad standing or have outstanding debts owed to Housing Authorities are not eligible.

Background checks will be run prior to admission to the program.

What is the Santa Monica Housing Authority’s preference policy?

Preferences are applied to applicants based on the following criteria:

  1. Santa Monica residents displaced in the last 12 months (or have received notice that they will be displaced in the near future) due to a disaster, government action, Ellis Act or Mobilehome Park closure, owner-occupancy, or domestic violence victimization
  2. Santa Monica residents (includes chronically homeless persons who became homeless in Santa Monica and are listed on the Service Registry)
  3. Santa Monica workers who are employed a minimum of 36 hours per week, or retired from a job in Santa Monica, or are you receiving job training in Santa Monica
    1. Additional preferences within the three groups above include:
      1. Persons in the active United States military, naval, or air service, and were discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable are in the first tier of each rank. Surviving spouses of veterans will also be given a preference
      2. Elderly (62+) or disabled persons
      3. Families with custody of minor children currently enrolled in Santa Monica schools
      4. Persons working 36 or more hours per week
      5. Households paying more than half (50%) of their income towards monthly rent
      6. Residents of market-rate apartments (not subsidized or where your continued occupancy is based on your income)

    What if I don’t have a computer/internet access?

    Internet access and application assistance will be provided by the Housing Division at:

    Virginia Avenue Park
    Pico Library (8:30am-5:00pm)
    Teen Center (8:00 am-8:00 pm)
    2200 Virginia Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90404

    Limited application assistance is also available at the following locations:

    Westside Center for Independent Living
    By appointment only
    Persons with disabilities only
    12901 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    The People Concern (TPC – formerly known as OPCC)
    8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    TPC clients only
    503 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    St. Joseph Center
    8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    St. Joseph’s clients only
    404 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    Step Up on Second
    8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Step Up clients only
    1328 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    Chrysalis
    8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4p.m.
    Chrysalis clients only
    1853 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

    How can I obtain assistance if a disability prevents me from completing the application?

    Accommodations due to a disability are available through the Housing Division at 310-458-8743.

    What if my primary language is not English?

    Language assistance is available through the Housing Division at 310-458-8743. The online application does have a Spanish option.

    How do I apply for the wait list?

    Applications are only accepted online through a link at housinglist.smgov.net. No paper applications will be accepted and no applications will be accepted at the Santa Monica Housing Authority.

    How can I be sure that my application was accepted?

    An Application Receipt with the date and time your application was received will be provided. Please screenshot or print and retain this receipt for your records.

    How can I check the status of my application?

    The status of an application can be checked by logging to www.waitlistcheck.com using the applicant’s year of birth as the username and the applicant’s Social Security Number as the password. Please note that confirmation of receipt of the application does not mean automatic eligibility.

    When I check my status, it shows inactive. Why?

    Applications remain in an “inactive” status until the application is selected for eligibility screening.

    How long will it take before I receive a housing voucher?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to determine the length of time before names are selected from the wait list. Names are selected from the wait list as funding permits. The SMHA typically has approximately 50 available vouchers annually. Therefore, only 500 applications will be selected for the wait list. All other applications will be discarded.

    Does the Santa Monica Housing Authority have additional information about my current wait list status or my household’s position on the wait list?

    No. The most updated information about current wait list status is on www.waitlistcheck.com. The Housing Authority does not provide applicants with a wait list position number.

    Where can I learn more about the Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher Program?

    Visit the Santa Monica Housing Authority's Section 8 Frequently Asked Questions.

    All information will be verified by collecting documentation directly from the source from which it originates. Failing to disclose, or providing false information, may be cause for criminal prosecution. (Section 1001 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it a criminal offense to make willful false statements or misrepresentations to any Department or agency of the United States as to any matter within its jurisdiction.)