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Article » Affordable Housing Residents and Low-Income Californians Launch Housing Choice Voucher Campaign

Affordable Housing Residents and Low-Income Californians Launch Housing Choice Voucher Campaign

Sep 7, 2023

Contact: Unai Montes,, 310.962.7369 (Bilingual)

Residents United Network Introduce Website To Demonstrate Widespread Support for Vouchers

Sacramento, CA – Housing California’s Residents United Network (RUN), organizing residents of affordable housing and affordable housing-eligible Californians across Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, the Bay Area and California’s Central Valley, is launching a campaign to ensure federally-funded Housing Choice Vouchers are easier to get and use in the Golden State. Californians interested in helping their low-income, unhoused, and precariously housed neighbors should visit and join the statewide campaign.

“Everyone who needs a housing voucher should be able to get one. Everyone who has a voucher should be able to use that voucher to get housed,” San Diego resident and RUN leader, Margo Velez explained. “My family had to wait over a decade before we got a housing choice voucher. One of my two daughters turned 18 while our application was being processed, so we had to modify our application, and wait again. Then, when we finally got the voucher – thirteen years after we first applied – we could not find a landlord who was willing to take it. This was when everything was closed because of the pandemic. But I still only had a limited time to use the voucher before it expired. I submitted inquiries or applications every single day, even when I caught COVID-19 and had a fever of 104. Yet, I still couldn’t find a property manager who’d take it. I applied for and received an extension. But the voucher ultimately expired, and we were forced into homelessness. We ended up unhoused because it took too long to get a housing choice voucher and it was too hard to use it. My story is not unique. That’s why we need to make sure vouchers mean keys for those who desperately need homes,” she added.

Congress created Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) with the goal of enabling low-income households to secure housing on the private market. The program uses federal funds to subsidize the rent of low-income households. The voucher holder pays 30 percent of their income towards rent, and the voucher serves to cover the remainder. But red tape, wait times, security deposits and other fees, discrimination against voucher holders, and other factors have made it difficult for many people to use their vouchers. Over 600,000 people in 300,000 low-income households are currently leasing properties through the program in California, yet tens of thousands of federal housing choice vouchers are left unused each year because the system needs to be improved.

“When Californians who qualify for housing vouchers are not able to access and make use of them, it means California loses federal housing dollars. Everyone should be concerned that we are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table meant to support Californians who need and deserve homes,” stated Chione Flegal, Housing California’s Executive Director.

In 2021, Housing California and its key partners introduced Roadmap Home 2030, a ten-year, comprehensive plan to solve homelessness, produce and preserve affordable housing, and protect low-income tenants. Roadmap Home 2030 provides a blueprint to bolster and improve successful housing programs to meet the scale of need statewide. The plan seeks to establish housing choice vouchers as an entitlement for all eligible households. By maximizing access to, and acceptance of, housing choice vouchers, California would increase its share of the total available federal dollars meant to ensure low-income Californians can find and secure safe and stable homes.


About Housing California, Residents United Network, and Roadmap Home 2030:

Housing California is a statewide advocacy organization that works to create a California with homes, health, and prosperity for all in thriving, sustainable communities.

Residents United Network is an arm of Housing California that elevates Californians with lived experience in advocacy for, and decision-making to shape, policies and budget priorities that affect them.

Roadmap Home 2030 is a comprehensive long-term state policy platform for solving homelessness, creating needed affordable homes, protecting low-income renters, and closing racial equity gaps in housing over the next ten years.

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