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Affordable Housing Eligibility

Income limits vary by property in the Impact Property Management / Special Portfolio program. Depending on the property, limits can be 30 percent, 50 percent, 80 percent, or 100 percent of area median income.

Area median income is the midpoint income for the Seattle area. It is determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and means that half of the people earn more than the median, and half of the people earn less. Seattle Housing Authority uses these levels to set income limits and waiting list preferences for its programs.

The limits listed below are current as of March 2016, but may change without notice:

Family size 30 percent income limit 50 percent income limit 80 percent income limit
1 $19,000 $31,650 $48,550
2 $21,700 $36,150 $55,450
3 $24,400 $40,650 $62,400
4 $27,100 $45,150 $69,300
5 $29,300 $48,800 $74,850
6 $32,580 $52,400 $80,400
7 $36,730 $56,000 $89,950
8 $40,890 $59,600 $91,500

A household's assets—money, property, and other goods having value—are taken into account when calculating income. The actual value of your assets is not included, but income created from your assets is. If you have money in a savings account, for example, that money will not be added to your income. However, if you earn interest from the money in your account, the interest will be considered part of your annual income.

Qualifying as a family

The Impact Property Management / Special Portfolio program defines "family" as an individual or a group of individuals who share a residence, have income and resources available to meet family needs, and have demonstrated a stable family relationship. This includes married and unmarried partners, related and unrelated individuals, and single people.

General suitability

Seattle Housing Authority is responsible for maintaining stable and safe living environments for its residents. For this reason, applications are screened in the same way most private property managers would do. To be considered suitable, you must show you are able to pay rent when due, take care of an apartment, and live peacefully with neighbors.

Resident history

Seattle Housing Authority relies heavily on good landlord references to determine an applicant's suitability for the Impact Property Management / Special Portfolio program. Recent, positive rental history is the best way to tell if an applicant will be able to meet the obligations of being a tenant. In addition to stable resident history, employment, and other factors are considered when determining suitability.

Criminal history

Seattle Housing Authority screens all applicants' criminal history. If it shows that they may not be a suitable resident, their application may be denied. Applicants are automatically denied for certain crimes, including:

  • Current use of illegal drugs
  • Methamphetamine production in public housing or elsewhere
  • Sex offenses requiring sex offender registration
  • A record indicating a pattern of alcohol abuse
  • Any crimes that indicate habitual criminal behavior
  • Controlled substance possession or use within 2 years
  • Misdemeanor assault within 2 years
  • Burglary within 2 years
  • Prostitution within 2 years
  • Any other felony convictions within 3 years
  • Public housing eviction for illegal drug activity within 3 years
  • Controlled substance delivery within 5 years
  • Intent to sell drugs within 5 years
  • Felony assault within 5 years
  • Robbery within 5 years
  • Domestic abuse within 5 years
  • Kidnapping within 7 years
  • Sexual assault within 10 years
  • Four or more assaults of any kind within 10 years
  • Arson within 10 years
  • Armed robbery within 10 years
  • Homicide within 20 years

This does not include time spent incarcerated.

Immigration status

You don't need to be a United States citizen to apply for housing, but you do need to be a citizen or have eligible immigration status to receive housing in a unit that is part of the public housing or Project-based programs. Your eligibility will be verified one year after leasing one of these units. You could lose all or part of your public housing or Project-based assistance if you do not have acceptable citizenship or immigration status at that time. Learn more about how immigration status affects assistance.