The Berkeley Housing Authority administers two basic types of housing programs:

Tenant-based assistance is tied to the family who receives the freedom of searching for affordable housing among all rental housing within the Berkeley Housing Authority's jurisdiction.

Project-based assistance is tied to a specific dwelling.  The family who lives there will pay an affordable rent, but if they move, they receive no further rental assistance.  The unit then goes to the next income-eligible family who moves in.


The rent paid by families is based on household income (see the Housing Statistics link below).  Rent is generally between 30% to 40% of the family’s monthly-adjusted gross income. 


For more information, please click on the links below: 

Special Programs

The Berkeley Housing Authority is not providing any special programs at this time.


Family Self-Sufficiency is a program designed specifically for Section 8 and Public Housing residents. When the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) is open, it combines case management, education and training, and housing assistance to aid families in becoming economically independent. FSS participants sign a 5-year Contract of Participation. FSS also offers a homebuyers education program to prepare participants to purchase a home of their own. When in operation,the FSS program successfully graduated over 150 families and over 20 of those families achieved homeownership. 

City of Berkeley Shelter Plus Care Program

The Berkeley Shelter Plus Care Program has been an important component of the continuum of care for people who are homeless and disabled.  The Shelter Plus Care Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing subsidies to people who are homeless with a disability due to a serious mental illness, chronic drug or alcohol dependence, or HIV/AIDS.  The Program is administered by the Berkeley Housing Department in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Departments’ Mental Health Division and Division on Aging, and several community-based service agencies.  The program combines a rental subsidy with ongoing supportive services to assist chronically homeless individuals and families to obtain and maintain housing.    

Currently, the City of Berkeley Housing Department operates five Shelter Plus Care grants providing a total of 240 units of supportive housing for people who are homeless and disabled. 

Who is eligible?

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. The applicant must be able to document that they are disabled due to a severe mental illness, chronic drug or alcohol dependence, or HIV/AIDS.
  2. The applicant must be receiving services in Berkeley, and homeless according to one of the following definitions:
    • Residing in an emergency shelter;
    • Sleeping on the streets or in a vehicle or some other public place; or
    • Currently residing in transitional housing, and they were staying in a shelter or on the streets prior to entering the transitional housing program.
  3. The applicant must be low income according to HUD guidelines (50% of area median income-- currently $29,000 per year for a single adult).
  4. The applicant must be willing to participate in case management services, and able to live safely in their own apartment.

How does someone apply?

Each of the service agencies has a designated number of Shelter Plus Care subsidies available, and each agency maintains a waiting list for the subsidies dedicated for their program.  The agencies only accept new applications for their waiting list during limited periods of time.  In order to get on a waiting list, interested applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and be enrolled as a client at the agency before the agency opens their waiting list to accept new applications.   

Once an applicant reaches the top of a waiting list, the agency will verify their eligibility and then enroll them into the Shelter Plus Care Program.  Each agency provides case management and support services for as long as the participant receives rental assistance through the Shelter Plus Care Program. 

The collaborating service agencies that maintain waiting lists for the Berkeley Shelter Plus Care Program are:


Agency Name



Berkeley Drop-In Center

3234 Adeline Street


Berkeley Food and Housing Project

2362 Bancroft Way


Berkeley Mental Health

2640 MLK Way


City of Berkeley Division on Aging

North and South Berkeley Senior Centers


Bonita House, Inc.

6333 Telegraph Ave. Suite 102 Oakland


BOSS/Multi-Agency Service Center

1931 Center Street


East Bay AIDS Center

Alta Bates Summit Center
3100 Summit Ave./2nd Fl.


Haste House/ Rubicon Programs

1918 Bonita Street


LifeLong Medical Care

616 16th Street,


Women’s Day-time Drop-In Center

2218 Acton Street


 For more information contact the Shelter Plus Care Program Coordinator at the City of Berkeley Housing Department: (510) 981-5418.