On the heels of the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) receiving more than 22,000 applications for 2,500 spots on its Section 8 housing voucher waiting list, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is opening its own list.
On March 23, starting at 8 a.m., those seeking rental assistance can register for a lottery with SHA. After the list closes on April 10 at 5 p.m., 2,500 applicants will be randomly selected for the voucher waiting list.
A voucher provides a federal subsidy for households that earn less than 30 percent of the area median income to rent a market-rate house or apartment. As of last July, a family of four whose income did not exceed $26,450 would qualify.
“It’s pretty evident that there is a shortage of affordable housing in the city of Seattle,” said Kerry Coughlin, SHAspokesperson. “[Section 8] enables people to go out into the private market. It opens up affordable housing beyond the low-income housing program.”
To register, families must have a head of household over 18 and be in good standing with SHA, which also screens an applicant’s criminal history and immigration status.
The last time SHA’s waiting list opened, fake websites cropped up that preyed on applicants, often charging a fee for a supposed “place on the waitlist.” Coughlin advised this year’s applicants to be wary.
“We’re very concerned about that,” she said. “If anyone asks for money for a place on this waitlist, you’re on the wrong site. Don’t do it. Registration is free.”
Applicants can register for both KCHA and SHA waitlists. Those who receive a voucher from SHA, however, must use it within Seattle for the first year.
Section 8 waitlists open periodically, and every time, demand far outstrips supply.
KCHA’s lottery closed on Feb. 10, leaving those who applied an 11 percent chance of making the cut. SHA’s list last opened in 2013; it received roughly 24,000 applications for 2,000 spots.