Frequently Asked Questions

The Family Self-Sufficiency Program is a voluntary self-paced program designed to help you overcome barriers to getting and keeping a good job.  In addition to helping you get a good job, FSS puts money into an escrow or savings account for you.  The money is paid to you at the end of the five-year program. The program lasts five years so you have enough time to get a good job, and we have more time to put money in your savings account.  You will find more information on the savings (escrow) account on the other side of this sheet..


  • Anyone who is currently receiving Section 8 rental assistance in the City of Long Beach can participate in our FSS Program
  • Families on the waiting list are not eligible until they are leased-up


  • You can join FSS if you are employed or unemployed, It doesn't matter
  • If you are not employed, we can help you get employed so that you can get a savings (escrow) account
  • If you are employed, you should still join FSS, because the next time you get a pay increase we can start a savings (escrow) account for you


  • That's ok, it doesn’t matter if you are receiving welfare benefits or not, you can still join FSS
  • You do have to be free of welfare benefits during the last year of the FSS Program (5th year)  Welfare benefits do not include Section 8 rental assistance, so you can keep your housing assistance


  • You can still join FSS; you talk to an FSS representative to see if the program can benefit you


  • The FSS Program is voluntary, you can quit at any time
  • If you quit the program you will not be penalized; you will not loose your Section 8 rental assistance for quitting the FSS Program
  • If you do quit prior to completing your contract you will not be entitled to your FSS savings (escrow) account


  • In general, your escrow account will start when your earned income increases above your earned income on the start date of your FSS Contract of Participation
  • The start date of your FSS Contract of Participation depends upon information contained in a certification that has been done within the last 120 days; therefore, if you sign-up for FSS and you have not had an annual or interim recertification within the last 120 days, you will need to have one done in order for your FSS Contract to begin


  • When your earned income increases your rent increases; we match a portion of that increase and put it into an interest earning savings account for you
  • Each time your earned income increases and a recertification is done, we may increase the amount contributed to your FSS escrow account
  • Your account can grow over the five year period that you participate in FSS
  • You will receive the funds in your FSS Escrow account upon completion of your FSS Contract of Participation, provided that you have met the terms of the agreement and were free of all forms of welfare assistance during the last year of your Contract period
  • You may spend the tax-free funds however you wish


  • Ask to speak to an FSS representative, we are more than happy to sit down with you and explain the program in greater detail and answer any questions that you may have
  • Remember, this program is voluntary, and it will not affect your Section 8 rental assistance in any way
  • You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!
  • Hurry, space is limited!

What are the income limits for Housing Authority programs?

The federal government publishes new income limits each year.  The income limits are for annual income.  

PMSA: Los Angeles - Long Beach, California
FY 2013 - 2014 Income Limits
Effective January 15, 2013
Median Family Income $61,900


30% of Median Income

















For information regarding the Housing Authority Bureau, please call (562) 570-6985 or visit their website at

Call one of our FSS Specialists TODAY!

(A-Hay) Rose Usher (562) 570-6025 
(Hen – Pas) Aundria Washington • (562) 570-6708 •
(Pat – Z) Ayisha McDonald • (562) 570-6145 •

How can I apply for assistance through the Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach?
Both the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 and HOPWA programs have a waiting list. When the waiting lists for these programs are opened they will be advertised in local media outlets and on our website. Unfortunately we cannot notify you personally when the waiting list opens. Shelter Plus Care clients are referred by the Mental Health Association and the US Veterans Initiative and VASH clients are referred by the Veterans Administration Long Beach Hospital.

What programs does the Housing Authority operate?

The waiting list for our Housing Choice Voucher program better known as Section 8 is currently closed. At this time we project opening in February 2012 when it re-opens, it will be advertised on our website ( and local Long Beach media outlets. We cannot notify you personally when it re-opens. However we strongly encourage you to go to our website at and request e-notify for all Housing Authority related information and notification will be provided if your information e-mail address is kept current. When our waiting list opens, anyone may apply however preferences are given to Veterans, Long Beach residents and elderly and disabled applicants.

In the meantime, we encourage you to visit our website for the affordable housing listing at Each facility has its own waiting list so you may apply at as many as you like.

While our waiting list is closed you may check others in the metropolitan area for Section 8 and Public Housing:

County of Los Angeles website:

City of Los Angeles website:

For Los Angeles County Senior and Disabled Information:

Long Beach Senior Services Center
562 570-3533

1150 E. 4th Street

Long Beach, CA 90802

Emergency Housing:

The Multi-Service Center
1301 W. 12th Street (cross streets are Anaheim and Harbor)

Long Beach, CA
562 733-1147

I'm already on the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 or HOPWA waiting list how long do I have to wait?
Unfortunately we are unable to estimate when applicants will be pulled from the waiting list. If you wish to view your waiting list status or change your contact information you may do so by accessing the link below. Should you have any problems, you may contact

I already have a Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 voucher but would like to use it to move to Long Beach. What do I do?
We do accept transfers from participants who already have a tenant based voucher. Have your worker fax your file to 562-499-1054. When you transfer over to us, we will interview you to determine eligibility in our jurisdiction. You and other approved adult family members must be present for the interview and will need to bring all current income, id's, social security cards, bank statements etcetera. We will also run a criminal history check on all adult family members. The City of Long Beach Housing Authority only covers the City of Long Beach, California so you must lease up in Long Beach if you transfer to us.

When you transfer to our jurisdiction, you will be subject to our subsidy standards (the number of bedrooms you receive on the voucher). Our subsidy standards are 1 bedroom for every two people in the household, regardless of age or gender. If you are a single person, you will be issued a 1 bedroom voucher. You would have to have 3 family members in your household to qualify for a 2 bedroom. The payment standards can be found here. Any additional family members would have to be added to your case prior to your file being transferred to us.

Be aware that the payments standards are considered for the rent amount that the owner is asking AND the utilities that you, as the tenant, are paying. The housing authority will also determine if the rent amount the owner is asking is acceptable based on our rent reasonable database information. It can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks to get the unit approved, once the RLA paperwork has been submitted to our office.

I'm a property owner, how do I find out more about the program?

The HACLB Housing Choice Voucher program assists over 6,000 families in the city of Long Beach. To meet the demand for housing we need good landlords and invite your participation.

Participants of the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 program typically pay between 30% - 40% of their adjusted income for rent while the housing authority via federal dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cover the difference between the approved contract rent and the tenant's rent payment. This guarantees that landlords will receive a portion of the rent on time each month.

By becoming our partner in the Housing Choice Voucher program you make it possible for low-income families to enjoy quality, affordable housing and in return owners enjoy:

  • Stable payments
  • Annual unit inspections
  • Fair market rental rates
  • On time monthly payments
  • Enforceable renter obligations defined in the lease addendum
  • Periodic owner newsletters

These rents reflect the small area fair market rents for Long Beach only. 


The Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach is participating in a demonstration project that will use Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) as defined by zip codes. All Requests for Tenancy Agreements received after November 15, 2012 for contracts executed December 1, 2012 or later will apply the 2013 Small Area FMR.

The use of zip codes as the basis for FMRs is intended to provide tenants with greater ability to move into "Opportunity Neighborhoods" with jobs, public transportation and good schools.

Subsidy levels will generally not exceed the small area amount. Higher rents may be reasonable based on the amenities but the final approved rent will be capped at what is affordable based on the individual family's income.

As a property owner you are entitled to screen potential tenants and set rules and regulations that are in conformance with California Tenant Law. Ownership information is not required until a Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 voucher holder attempts to rent your unit. You may advertise the listing for free by submitting it online using Our Upgraded Rental Listing Service. Quarterly owner orientations are scheduled throughout the year, you may check the website for dates or contact Monique Lathrop at 562 570-5490 or by e-mail at We appreciate your consideration of the Section 8 program and look forward to partnering with you to provide affordable housing to Long Beach families.