You can apply for Section 8 in Washington with any public housing agency (PHA) that you wish. The housing choice voucher program is funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, local PHAs are responsible for processing applications and issuing rental assistance vouchers.
Generally, the Section 8 application process requires information regarding each member of your household. To make this process go more smoothly, you will want to ensure that you have all the necessary details on hand when signing up. Below, learn how to complete a Section 8 housing application and discover what steps you need to go through to get a voucher.
When can I submit a Section 8 application in Washington?
You can sign up for Section 8 whenever a PHA has its waiting list open. Most housing authorities use waiting lists because there are so many eligible families who apply for assistance.
More often than not, there are too many families waiting to receive a voucher already. In such cases, PHAs will close their waiting lists until there is room to add more petitioners to the list.
You will not be allowed to submit a HUD application if a PHA has its waiting list closed. In fact, most housing authorities do not allow you to access application materials when the list is closed.
If your preferred PHA is not accepting new applications, you may be able to sign up with a different agency. In general, you are allowed to apply for low income housing with as many PHAs as you wish.
Keep in mind that because each housing agency is a separate organization, the application process will be different depending on where you sign up. There is no universal Section 8 application form that you can submit to every PHA.
PHAs announce when you can apply for Section 8 housing by placing notices online or in newspapers. When a wait list opening is announced, you may need to act quickly to complete your application. In many cases, housing authorities only take applications for a few days or weeks before the list closes again.
What documents do I need to apply for Section 8 in Washington?
Your low income housing application needs to include documents that verify your eligibility. In many cases, you only need to provide proof of your qualifications when you are chosen for a voucher. However, a PHA may request documents with your pre-application as well.
In any case, you need to verify the eligibility of everyone on your housing authority application in order for your household to get assistance. Generally, you must have some or all of the following documents:
- Birth certificates
- Photo identification
- Social Security cards
- Pay stubs or benefit award letters
- Bank statements or tax returns
- Proof of citizenship or legal presence
Note that if you do not have the required documents for each person in your household, you may not be approved for a voucher. Learn more about the types of documents you may need with a housing authority application by reading our guide here.
Tips for Completing the Washington Section 8 Housing Application
When filling out a HUD housing application, it is important to be aware of your PHA’s policies and procedures. In most cases, a housing agency will only accept your application if it is completely filled out and is signed by all adult members of your household.
Incomplete applications may be rejected even if you are otherwise eligible for assistance. If any questions on a Section 8 application do not apply to you, it is usually better to write “N/A” in the answer box rather than leaving questions blank. Your PHA may provide specific instructions for answering questions.
After you sign up for Section 8 in WA, it also helps to understand how local preference work. PHAs often use local preferences as a way to determine which applicants can receive assistance first. If you qualify for a local preference, it may reduce your overall wait time for a voucher. Preferences may exist for the following types of applicants:
- Victims of domestic abuse
- People who live or work in the PHA’s service area
- Families with children
Not all PHAs have Section 8 application preferences. Moreover, qualifying for a preference does not mean that you are guaranteed to receive assistance more quickly. Preferences will also vary from one PHA to the next.
Understanding the Washington Section 8 Application Process
You can submit a Washington Section 8 application online, in person or through the mail in most cases. PHAs may prefer or require that you use one application method over another.
How to Apply for Section 8 Online in Washington
In order to apply for help online, you will first need to check that your PHA has a website or application portal. Remember that you can usually only sign up for help when the waiting list is open, which means the housing authority may remove application materials when the list is closed.
In any case, it is important to note that you can always fill out Section 8 application online free of charge. Overall, local PHAs are not allowed to charge fees for signing up for HUD benefits.
When you are done filling out your Section 8 application, you might receive a confirmation number. If so, save this information for future reference.
How to Submit the Washington Section 8 Housing Application in Person
Many PHAs allow you to apply for help in person. Before visiting a PHA’s office, be sure to confirm its hours and application policies. Some housing authorities may require you to have an appointment.
How to Apply for Section 8 Housing by Mail
In the event you cannot make it to a PHA office in person or apply online, you can usually request a paper application form in the mail. Be sure to return the form with any required materials to the correct mailing address.
What happens after I apply for Section 8 in Washington?
Once you submit a HUD application in Washington, you will be placed on a waiting list unless the PHA is able to assist you right away. Moreover, you may be denied if you do not pass the initial eligibility screening.
If your Section 8 application is put onto a waiting list, be sure to keep your information up to date. Your PHA may require you to report changes to any of the following:
- Full name
- Mailing address
- Family composition
- Income or other eligibility factors
Once your name is chosen for a voucher, you will typically be required to undergo a full eligibility screening before receiving your rent assistance.