The King County Housing Authority (KCHA) received more than 22,000 applications for Section 8 rental assistance this month, giving applicants an 11 percent chance they could make a waiting list for the coveted housing service.
The voucher program allows clients to use a federal subsidy to rent a market-rate house or apartment. KCHA manages about 11,000 vouchers for Section 8 housing.
KCHA opens the waiting list sporadically. The last time the agency accepted applications was in 2011, and people at the bottom of the list only recently received housing.
KCHA spokesperson Rhonda Rosenberg said the 22,615 households that applied represent about 50,000 people altogether — roughly
the population of the city of Burien. The applicants include more than 12,000 seniors and people with disabilities. Nearly 22,000 are children; 35 percent of the applicants are homeless.
Most will not make the 2,500-household waiting list for housing. KCHA will hold a lottery to determine which of these people will make it onto the waiting list, which will take years to exhaust.
Those who don’t make the cut will have to wait for the next time the pool opens to apply for Section 8 housing.
To be eligible, a family must meet several requirements: The head of the household must be over 18; at least one member of the household must be disabled, over 62 or under 18; and the family must be low-income. A family earning less than 30 percent of the area median income is eligible: a King County family of four earning less than $26,450 a year would qualify. A family paying more than 50 percent of its total income for rent or utilities is also eligible.
The last time the county’s housing agency opened its waiting list, 25,000 households applied to be on a 2,500-household waiting list. They had a 10 percent chance to make it on to the years-long waiting list for the coveted vouchers.
The Seattle Housing Authority last opened its Section 8 waiting list in 2013. More than 23,000 people applied for 2,000 slots.