Rental Assistance Overview

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Rental Assistance Options



Need Help Right Away?

If you are homeless or concerned that you will be homeless soon,
please call 2-1-1 or go to the website:  211 San Diego.


Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)

  • The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher programs help qualified families get rental assistance.  
  • Apply for rental assistance. If you need special help to fill out the application, please call (858) 694-4801 or toll free (877) 478-LIST.
  • After you fill out the application, your name will be placed on the waiting list. It may be 10 or more years before your name gets to the top of the list.

Who Qualifies for Rental Assistance?


  • At least 75 percent of those who use Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers must be extremely low income, earning only 30 percent of our Area Median Income.


Where Do You Live?

Areas Covered

The Housing Authority of the County of San Diego (HACSD) serves the unincorporated areas of San Diego County and the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, El Cajon, Escondido, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, Solana Beach, and Vista. See the complete list of cities and communities served by our Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance program.

Areas NOT Covered by Us

If you live outside of the above areas, there are five other Housing Authorities in San Diego County. Contact the one for your city: 

The San Diego Housing Commission serving the City of San Diego

Housing Authority of the City of National City

City of Encinitas Community Development

City of Oceanside Housing Department

City of Carlsbad Housing and Redevelopment Department

City Housing Programs

In addition, each of the 18 cities within San Diego County has affordable housing programs. Click on the city name in this chart to see that city's housing program.          


  • Highest priority goes to those who live or work in our jurisdiction AND have one of the following:
    • Dependent children
    • Elderly person (head of household or spouse is 62 years of age or older)
    • Disabled person (head of household or spouse is disabled)
    • Veteran or surviving spouse of veteran (other than dishonorable discharge)
    • Working applicant (Must have worked at least 32-plus hours per week for the previous 12 months). You may combine job training or an academic program as part of the previous 12-month requirement.
    • Homeless
  • If you require specific accommodations to complete the application, please contact our office at (858) 694-4801 or (877) 478-LIST.
  • Our Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program is guided by regulations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as local policies.

Are There Other Programs?

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

  • If you or a family member have AIDS or HIV, you may want to apply for rental assistance. On the first page of the application, there are several boxes listing different rental assistance programs, including Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). 

Moderate Rehabilitation Program

  • The Moderate Rehabilitation program offers 94 privately-owned rental units in El Cajon and Lakeside for low-income families.
  • If a unit becomes available, an applicant's name is selected from the waiting list and referred to the landlord for screening and selection.
  • If the landlord determines your household meets selection requirements, we will then determine if you are eligible for this program.

Public Housing

  • The Public Housing program is similar to Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance, but the rental units are owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the County of San Diego and its contractors.

Project-Based Vouchers (PBV)

  • There are Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers that can be used only at certain housing complexes. This rental assistance is attached to the building. These are called  Project-Based Vouchers (PBV).
  • These vouchers target special needs populations and are distributed in limited numbers based on available funding.
  • Existing PBVs are located in the Pine View apartments in Fallbrook, Vista Terrace and Grove developments in Vista, Schmale Family Senior Residence in Ramona, and Villa de Vida development in Poway.


  • The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program provides rental assistance to qualified homeless veterans. This is a partnership between the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.

Already Receiving Help With Your Rent?

  • If you already receive Section 8 rental assistance, please see these Important Updates.


  • If you already receive rental assistance, but want to move to or move out of the San Diego county area we serve, please see. Port Out/Port-In Procedures.

Tips for Renters

More Help

  • If you qualify for help with housing costs, you may use this Rental Assistance Calculation to get an idea of what you may receive. Your actual aid may be different. There is a maximum amount of rental assistance a family may receive and it is called the Voucher Payment Standard. These payment standards are determined by fair market rent in our region and funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • For more information on the policies and plans of the Housing Authority of the County of San Diego, see our Agency Plans.

Other Resources for Low-Income Families

Health Insurance

  • Do your children need health insurance? Contact the County San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network (800) 675-2229 or

Food Stamps

  • Need help with grocery bills? CalFresh is also known as Food Stamps or the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Utility Savings

Fair Housing

  • Everyone has a right to fair housing. Learn more: Fair Housing.
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Please Tell Us How We're Doing...

How are we at County Housing and Community Development Services doing? Please let us know by completing our confidential online survey.



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