Section 8 Housing Openings in Washington

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
December 13, 2017

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.

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
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