Washington State’s Section 8 housing voucher program enables low-income individuals and families to find affordable housing options. The program is funded by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program — a federally run housing program. However, it’s run by the state’s public housing authorities (PHAs), so open application times vary depending on the city’s process. When applying, expect to be added to a waiting list. These are typically between two and three years long, so don’t expect the process to go quickly.
Washington’s Section 8 Housing Program
The Section 8 housing voucher program in Washington State gives rental vouchers to approved low-income individuals and families. This means, once you’re approved for the program, it’s up to you to find a home that accepts the vouchers — not all rental properties are Section 8 approved. However, the PHA can provide you with a list of approved locations if needed.
Keep in mind, if you’re approved for the program, you might still be responsible for a portion of your monthly rent. The amount of the rental vouchers a person or family receives depends on their household size and income.
Section 8 Eligibility in Washington
The majority of Washington’s Section 8 rent voucher program is based on the size of your household and your income. However, in order to participate in the program, you need to be a US citizen or meet HUD’s requirements for specific categories of non-citizens who have eligible immigration status, which covers most permanent residents of the US, as well as farmworkers who are lawful temporary residents.
The PHA also completes credit and criminal background checks on all applicants. Sex offenders who lifetime sex offender registration requirements and applicants who have been convicted of violent or drug-related crimes aren’t eligible to participate in the Section 8 housing voucher program. However, the PHA does have the right to approve applications for people with illegal drug use convictions as long as the person can show proof that they’ve successfully completed an approved substance abuse treatment program.
How do you qualify for Section 8 housing in Washington?
To qualify for Section 8 housing in Washington, you need to meet all of the application and income guideline requirements, including the requirements for the credit and criminal background checks. You also need to provide proof of income via pay stubs, tax returns, court-ordered child support or family support paperwork, and government benefits award letters. As well as copies of bank statements and birth certificates for all of your family members.
How do I apply for Section 8 Housing in Washington?
In Washington, Section 8 applicants must apply through PHAs. It’s possible to apply for Section 8 in multiple areas at the same time. In fact, it’s often recommended due to the length of most waiting lists.
How to apply for low-income housing
When you’re ready to apply for the Section 8 housing voucher program, contact the PHA in the area you wish to live to determine the application process. Not all areas have the same requirements and processes. For example, the Vancouver Section 8 program requires applicants to obtain a referral code before applying for its Housing Choice vouchers and has open waiting lists at several project-based voucher program properties, while the King County Housing Authority opens its waiting list for a two-week period each year and uses a lottery process to choose pre-approved applicants for the program each year.
Section 8 Housing Washington Application
When you apply for Section 8, you need to fill out a standard application for the area you wish to live, which then goes through a preliminary application review. The application requires you to answer questions about your family including, but not limited to:
- The number of the people in your household — including names, ages, birthdates, and social security numbers (or legal immigration status) for each family member
- Your relationship to the members of your household
- Your family’s income — including income received from employment, businesses you own, investments, government benefits, and court-ordered support
- Any assets your family owns
During the preliminary screening, the PHA reviews the application information and conducts your credit and criminal background checks. Once you’ve passed the preliminary review, you are required to attend an in-person interview at the PHA, during which you’ll submit paperwork for the verification process — identification and birth certificates for all of your family members, as well as verification of income, bank accounts, and any owned assets. Once the PHA verifies that you qualify Section 8, you’re added to the PHA’s waiting list.
Washington Section 8 Landlord
If you’re a landlord who is interested in housing Section 8 tenants, you need to contact your local PHA to complete an application. The application you complete includes your personal contact information, as well as specific property details. Additionally, before your property gets added to the database, it has to pass a health and safety inspection.
Section 8 Waiting List Washington
Washington’s Section 8 waiting lists vary depending on the city or municipal area the PHA serves. However, you should expect most waiting lists to be between two and three years long. Keep in mind, you can apply for Section 8 through multiple PHAs at the same time and choose the option that approves you the fastest. Preferences are typically given to families with children, elderly, or disabled household members, as well as families who are homeless, pay more than 50 percent of their income in rent and utilities or live in substandard conditions. Contact the local PHA to determine the current preference requirements.
Spokane Section 8 Waiting List
The Spokane Housing Authority processes Section 8 applications in the Spokane area. Applicants are required to submit a pre-application and are placed on the waiting list at the time of submission. Applicants who don’t qualify for a preference are placed at the bottom of the list.
Seattle Section 8 Waiting List
The Seattle Housing Authority adds people to the waiting list using a lottery process. It opens lottery registration on select days each year. People who apply are placed in the lottery, and if their application is selected, they are put on the waiting list. The PHA expects it to takes several years for the most recent lottery winners to receive housing vouchers. You can contact the PHA for the dates of the next lottery process at any time.
Steps to Receiving Your Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
Step 1: Contact the PHA for the area you wish to live to determine the application process.
Step 2: Complete your preliminary application when the PHA opens enrollment for the area.
Step 3: Wait for the PHA to review your application and place you on the waitlist — or choose you during its lottery process if applicable.
Step 4: Confirm your waiting list position periodically. Also, keep all of your contact and income information updated.
Step 5: When you reach the top of the waiting list, schedule your briefing appointment. Turn in all of your verification paperwork during this appointment.
Step 6: Wait for the verification process to be approved. Once it's approved, you receive your housing vouchers.
Section 8 Income Limits in Washington
Washington's Section 8 income limits vary by city because they are based on a percentage of the local area’s median income. As a general rule of thumb, your family’s income can’t exceed 50 percent of the median income in the city or metropolitan area you choose to live to qualify for Section 8. However, PHAs are required by law to provide 75 percent of its vouchers to families who with incomes that don’t exceed 30 percent of the area’s median income.