Rental and Utility Assistance

Housing Assistance Payments Program

The City of Rancho Santa Margarita cooperates with the Orange County Housing Authority (OCHA), which administers the Section 8 Voucher Program. The Housing Assistance Payments Program assists low income, elderly, and disabled households by paying the difference between 30% of an eligible household's income and the actual rent. This program addresses the needs of overpayment and overcrowding of very-low- and extremely-low-income households through the provision of adequately-sized apartments at affordable rents.


County Programs & Resources

The county also administers rental assistance programs targeting special needs groups, including families whose children are at risk of being placed in out-of-home care, disabled persons, homeless, and the frail elderly. These programs serve extremely-low-income persons and include:

  • Family Unification Program provides Section 8 assistance to families whose children are at risk of being placed in out-of-home care or delayed in returning from care because of the families’ inadequate housing.
  • Aftercare Program for Disabled provides Section 8 assistance specifically targeted to disabled applicants.
  • Shelter Plus Care Program provides rent subsidies to homeless persons with disabilities.
  • Hope for Elderly Independence provides Section 8 assistance to frail elderly persons.

For More Information

If you have interest in participating in any of these programs or to see if you are eligible to participate, please contact OCHA at 714-480-2700 or visit the OCHA website.

Other Assistance Programs

Several organizations provide foodbank services and/or short-term emergency assistance for Rancho Santa Margarita residents facing food insecurity or at risk of utility shut-offs.

Family Assistance Ministries (949)492-8477

Services:  foodbank, emergency shelter/transitional housing for families, rent/utility assistance

Location:  San Clemente

Food Distribution:  Monday–Friday 10:00 a.m.to 2:45 p.m.


Families Forward (949) 552-2727

Services:  food pantry, support services, rapid rehousing/affordable housing for families with children

Location:  Irvine

Walk-up Food Pantry: Monday-Thursday 10AM-4PM


South County Outreach (949) 380-8144

Services:  foodbank, housing for families, rent/utility assistance

Location:  Irvine

Food Market Hours:  Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


RSM Cares Food Pantry

Drive thru food pantry first and third Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hills Methodist Church, 30605 Avenida de las Flores, Rancho Santa Margarita