Section 8 in Washington is a program that can help you receive affordable, safe and sanitary housing. Finding low income housing can be a challenge, but this program makes it easier to afford your monthly rental payments by providing a voucher. To qualify, your family’s income must fall below a certain level and your family composition needs to meet a certain definition.
This program is federally funded and overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, vouchers are provided by local public housing authorities (PHAs) throughout Washington. Therefore, you must meet local eligibility criteria to receive HUD housing, and you need to apply for assistance directly through a PHA in the community where you want to live. Below, learn more about the application process and discover how you can qualify for rental assistance.
Discover Washington Section 8 Requirements
In order to meet the Section 8 requirements in Washington, you must meet HUD’s definition of family, be considered low-income and be legally present in the U.S. Because each PHA is an independently run organization, the exact requirements for this program may vary depending on where you live. For example, the Section 8 income limits may be higher in a metropolitan area than in a rural community.
In general, you will have Section 8 eligibility if your family’s income is below 50 percent of the median income in the area. However, PHAs are required by law to provide a majority of their vouchers to extremely low-income families, which includes families with an income lower than 30 percent of the median.
You may still meet the Section 8 qualifications if your income is higher in some cases. However, extremely low-income families will usually receive assistance more quickly. Section 8 housing eligibility is limited to people who are in the U.S. legally. This can include any of the following:
- S. citizens and nationals
- Lawful permanent residents
- Temporary or conditional residents
- Asylum seekers and refugees
- Other lawfully-present residents
Families can still meet the Section 8 housing requirements if some members of the family are not in the U.S. legally. In such cases, a PHA may grant a family a lower amount of assistance based on the number of family members who are legally present.
It is also important to understand HUD’s definition of family before you apply for assistance. Families can be composed of single elderly or disabled members as well as individuals who are displaced from home due to a natural disaster or government action. A family can also be made up of two or more people, with or without children, who reside together.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing in Washington
A Section 8 application in Washington must be submitted to the PHA that covers the area where you want to live. Because each PHA serves a different community, you will need to find out which organization oversees the county or city that you wish to live in. Initially, you must live in a community that is covered by the PHA where you apply. Once you receive a voucher, though, you may move to a different location.
You can apply for Section 8 through a variety of methods, which will vary depending on the PHA that you choose. For example, some PHAs will let you submit a Washington Section 8 application online, while others will not. In any case, a Section 8 housing application will usually require the same information regardless of where you apply. This may include:
- Your address and phone number
- The names and dates of birth for each household member
- An estimation of your family’s annual income
- Information on assets and resources you have
- Social Security Numbers (SSNs) for yourself and your family members
Finally, your Section 8 application form will need to include documentation such as birth certificates, tax returns and other paperwork to verify your information. If you are denied assistance after you apply, a PHA must explain why and give you the option of requesting a hearing.
Understanding Section 8 Waiting Lists in Washington
In many cases, the demand for Section 8 is greater than the number of vouchers available. As a result, you will more than likely be placed onto a waiting list if a PHA is unable to assist you immediately. The length of a Section 8 waiting list will vary depending on the location, but some waits can last for months or even longer. With that in mind, this program is not usually a solution for an immediate or emergency housing need.
Because the need for Section 8 is so high in some areas, a PHA may close its waiting list periodically. If this happens, you will need to wait and apply when the list is reopened. PHAs will usually advertise wait list openings in local newspapers so that you can apply as soon as possible.
You may want to check your Section 8 waiting list status after you are added to a list by contacting your local PHA. Keep in mind that while you are on the list, you will need to remain eligible for the program in order to receive a voucher once your name reaches the top. If any factors such as your income or family composition have changed, you may not be able to get a voucher even if you were initially eligible.
Learn About Washington Section 8 Housing Lists
Using a Section 8 housing list in Washington will help you find an apartment or home to rent once you receive a voucher. Many websites provide Section 8 listings that you can browse through. However, some PHAs will have their own approved Section 8 housing list for you to use.
When looking at low income apartments for rent in WA, keep in mind that not all landlords accept vouchers and not all apartments will meet your PHA’s requirements. Furthermore, you may be required to rent a specific type of unit depending on the form of assistance you receive from your PHA.