Housing Division

Housing Programs

A variety of housing opportunities is primary City Council goal.  The City obtains grant funding to provide housing opportunities in Arcata. The Housing Division collaborates with the Planning Division to assist developers of affordable and market rate housing projects.

Housing programs may vary depending on available grant funds. Following are some current programs:

  • A range of housing choices, including a Home Ownership Program, and affordable housing projects;
  • Infill development in vacant, brownfield, and underutilized land;
  • Creation of residential units on upper floors of businesses; 

Most housing programs are open to applicants who meet State income qualification guidelines. Income limits are determined by the CA Department of Housing and Community Development.

Look below for affordable housing resources, the Home Ownership Program, Sewer Rehab Program information, Homekey projects, and other information to help renters and buyers, including the City's most current General Plan Housing Element.

Affordable Housing Resources in Arcata

Click here for a list of Affordable Housing resources in Arcata.

Coordinated Entry System

People experiencing homelessness can connect with the Humboldt Housing & Homeless Coalition at six different agencies that are part of the Coordinated Entry System which assists with finding housing. Click here for the form.

Homebuyer Downpayment Assistance for Community Land Trust Acquisition Only Program

Limited financing is available for Community Land Trust homes which the City operates in cooperation with Humboldt Bay Housing Development Corporation.  You may review the Program guidelines here.  Contact us if you have questions.

Home Ownership Program (HOP)

On July 27, 2022 the State of California suspended all First Time Homebuyer Program (HOP) activities while the HOME program works with HUD to update policies.  

This means that until further notice the City of Arcata will not be able to accept new applications for home loans.  We will keep this page updated with new information as we receive it.

The Home Ownership Program provides down payment assistance toward the purchase price and closing costs of homes that will be occupied by homebuyers as their primary residence. 

This is called gap financing. This gap financing is secondary to other lender financing - the difference between what a buyer qualifies for with conventional (bank/credit union) financing and the home purchase price.  There are some restrictions:

  • Applicant household income must be at or below 80% of the County's area median income. Find limits by household size, effective June 15, 2023 here.  (Highlighted in yellow.)
  • Homes must be located within the Arcata city limits. 
  • The maximum purchase price is $342,000 (effective June 1, 2023).
  • Applicants must qualify for primary financing with another lender.
  • Secondary City loans are made at 1.5% simple interest with payments deferred for 30 years.
  • Making the loan is contingent on the City having sufficient funds available in the program for lending.  The City currently uses the HOME Program but may also use other programs as available.

Complete details about the Homebuyer Program are available in the Homebuyer Assistance Acquisition Only Guidelines.

HOP Application Process

  1. Complete a Homeownership Program Pre-Application (link removed until program is reopened).  If pre-qualified, the applicant will be given forms and information for the next steps in the process.  
  2. Obtain pre-approval from a Primary Lender and complete a full application with the City.
  3. After a purchase contract is obtained, the application is reviewed for City approval.
  4. Each applicant must participate in qualified Homebuyer Counseling, dated within six months of loan closing.
  5. After submitting the full application, the homebuyer is given 90 days to find a home primary loan.

HOP Forms

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance 

The City of Arcata's Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA) Program is open. 

This grant-funded program provides rental payment assistance to qualified low-income Arcata residents and/or households. Seniors (age 55 and up) and those experiencing homelessness will be prioritized.

Annual household income limits:

1 person - $34,680

2 people - $39,600

3 people - $44,580

4 people - $49,500

Application process:

1. Complete the Landlord Approval Letter and submit it to City of Arcata Community Development Department.

2. Once we have received the Landlord Approval Letter, you will be given a Pre-Application form which must be filled out and returned by the end of this open period.

Upon receipt of your Pre-Application, you will be added to the waitlist. Staff will contact applicants on the waitlist in the order in which Pre-Applications are received. A meeting will then be scheduled to discuss the program and request documents to determine an applicant's eligibility.

For more information about the program our guidelines can be found here.

Please contact Community Development Program Specialist Melissa Freeman at (707) 825-2107 or mfreeman@cityofarcata.org with any TBRA inquiries. 

Sewer Lateral Rehab Loans

The City of Arcata offers low-interest sewer lateral rehabilitation loans to qualified applicants.  Please visit the Sewer Lateral Rehab Loans page for more details.

Project Homekey - Valley West Housing for Homeless

PROJECT HOMEKEY was created by the State to provide $1.4 billion in grant funding for rapid creation of housing for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, who are more likely to be impacted by COVID-19 and other communicable diseases, and to ensure sustainability of the housing.

Two experienced housing leaders, Arcata House Partnership and Danco properties, have each been awarded Homekey grants for rehabilitation of the Days Inn and the Red Roof Inn, respectively.  138 units will be available for houseless persons by the end of 2022 or early 2023. Each facility will provide ongoing supportive services to tenants, and will include 24/7 security and regular meetings with the community.

If you have questions about the rapid approval process, outreach to the target population and neighbors and business owners, please contact Susan at 707-825-2168 or sdiehlmccarthy@cityofarcata.org. 

We look forward to posting photos as the properties begin renovations.

  1.  Tenant Protection Programs
  2. Mobilehome Parks
  3. Housing Projects
  4. Housing Element
  5. Substandard Housing

Tenant Protection Act of 2019

The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 went into effect on January 1, 2020, and provides for two tenant protective measures:

  1. Limits Annual Rent Increases
  2. Requires "Just Cause" for Termination

To determine if the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 applies to your situation, visit Tenantprotections.org.

COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act - Expiration

The COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act – SB91 (Act) was signed into law January 29, 2021. The Act extended eviction protections to COVID-19 impacted tenants and established the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.  It was extended to, and expired on, June 30, 2021.

For more information, visit the State of California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency website at  https://www.bcsh.ca.gov/covidrelief/.