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Low Income Public Housing Eligibility

Households must earn 80 percent of area median income or less to be eligible for the Low Income Public Housing program.

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 2016 limits below are HUD revised.

Family size Income limit
1 $48,550
2 $55,450
3 $62,400
4 $69,300
5 $74,850
6 $80,400
7 $85,950
8 $91,500
9 $97,020
10 $102,564

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 Low Income Public Housing 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, same-sex couples, 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 screen. 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 Low Income Public Housing 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

SHA will screen all applicants for criminal history to help ensure that new tenants will not threaten the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premisesby existing tenants, but no applicant will be automatically barred from receiving housing because of his or her criminal background, except as is mandated by federal law. Per federal law, SHA must deny housing to any applicant that:

  1. Is subject to a lifetime registration requirement for sexual offense in any state;
  2. Has been convicted of manufacture or production of methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing.

In all other cases, SHA may consider mitigating circumstances

  • The seriousness of the crime;
  • The extent to which the applicant has accepted responsibility for his/her actions;
  • Completion of or on-going involvement in rehabilitative programming;
  • Involvement in volunteer work, employment, educational activity, training programs, support groups, civic groups or other related activities.
  • Changed circumstances since the conviction;
  • Successful participation in drug court, mental health court or other rehabilitative court;
  • Past success in housing or meeting similar types of obligations.

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. Your eligibility will be verified at the time of admission. You could be denied all or part of your assistance if you do not have acceptable citizenship or immigration status at that time. Learn more about how immigration status affects assistance.