Section 8 Housing Eligibility in Washington - WA (2022)

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:

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  • 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 tothe 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

TheSpokane 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 Authorityadds 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.

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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.

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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.

(Video) HOSWWA Housing Choice Voucher Briefing


How do you qualify for Section 8 housing in Washington State? ›

Tenants are eligible for Section 8 vouchers if their income is 30% of area median income or below. HUD rules require that all members of a household be able to prove legal residency. For a full list of HUD rules, see the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program Guidebook.

How does Section 8 work in WA? ›

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.

Who qualifies for affordable housing in Washington State? ›

You must have an annual household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). You receive waiting list preference with income at or below 30 percent of AMI.

How do I get a Section 8 voucher in WA? ›

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

To apply for either type of help, visit your local Public Housing Agency (PHA). Some PHAs have long waiting lists, so you may want to apply at more than one PHA. Your PHA can also give you a list of locations at which your voucher can be used.

What is the lowest income for Section 8? ›

FY 2022 Section 8 Income Limits (Effective 5/1/2022)
Number of PersonsExtremely Low Income 30% of MedianLow Income 80% of Median
4 more rows
5 May 2022

Can a landlord refuse Section 8 in Washington state? ›

Only housing properties located inside the city limits of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, or in unincorporated parts of King County are covered. Other housing in Washington state does not include Section 8 protection -- landlords and managers in other parts of the state can refuse to accept Section 8 vouchers.

What is the most Section 8 will pay? ›

Section 8 has been helping low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled since the 1970s. If you qualify for a voucher, you won't pay more than 40% of your monthly income on rent. The rest will be covered by the government.

How does a Section 8 work? ›

If you get a section 8 notice, it's the first step your landlord has to take to make you leave your home. You won't have to leave your home straight away. If your section 8 notice is valid, your landlord will need to go to court to evict you. You might be able to challenge your eviction and stay longer in your home.

What is considered low income in Tacoma WA? ›

FY 2022 Income Limits for Tacoma, WA
Household SizeExtremely Low Income (30% AMI)Low Income (80% AMI)
4 more rows
26 Apr 2022

Do I qualify for housing assistance in Washington? ›

You must meet income guidelines set by HUD for Section 8 program. Households with income at or below 30% of the area median income will qualify to receive rental assistance through Section 8 program. If funds are available, PHAs can issue vouchers to households with income up to 50% of the area median income.

What is low income Washington State? ›

$8,854. $106,246. INCOME ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES. Washington State Low-Income Weatherization (Wx) Program. The Federal guidance for the Washington State Low-Income Weatherization Program Eligibility Guidelines is 200 percent of federally established poverty guidelines.

What disqualifies from public housing? ›

You MIGHT be rejected if the background check reveals… Drug-related crimes; • Violent crimes; or • Other crimes that could threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the building by other residents or PHA employees. The PHA will look at arrests and convictions that occurred within the past 5 years.

What is considered low income in Pierce County? ›

All wait lists for assistance with the Pierce County Housing Authority are currently closed
Income Limit1 Person5 People
Very Low$35,550$54,850
Extremely Low$21,350$32,900

What is considered low income in Seattle? ›

Income level - Low Income Public Housing
Number in Household30% AMI80% AMI
6 more rows

What is considered low income in Tacoma WA? ›

FY 2022 Income Limits for Tacoma, WA
Household SizeExtremely Low Income (30% AMI)Low Income (80% AMI)
4 more rows
26 Apr 2022

What is considered low income in Thurston County? ›

Household Size50% of AMIExtremely Low Income (ELI)
1 person$24,650$14,800
2 person$28,150$17,420
3 person$31,650$21,960
4 person$35,150$26,500
4 more rows
1 Apr 2021


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