Frequently Asked Questions
How long will it take to get a Voucher? What happens when I reach the top of the waiting list?
The current Housing Choice Voucher program waiting list of 2,500 households was created through a lottery in the Spring of 2015. We expect it will take two to three years to contact all households on this waiting list.
If your household was selected through this lottery, you were assigned a position number on the waiting list. When we reach your position number, we will mail you an application packet to the current mailing address that we have on record for you. It is critical that you notify us in writing any time that your mailing address changes; if we are unable to contact you or if you fail to return the application forms on time, your position on the waiting list will be cancelled.
After we receive your application forms, we will perform a credit and criminal background check; we will independently verify certain items related to your income and family circumstances, such as employment and other income sources. If the information we verify indicates that you are income eligible, do not owe any Housing Authority money, have not been evicted or terminated for cause from Federally Assisted Housing in the past 5 years, and have an acceptable criminal background, you will be invited to attend an orientation at our Central Office.
Expect it to take about 90 days from the time you return your application packet until you are issued a Voucher, due to processing timelines. At the end of the orientation you will be issued a Housing Choice Voucher you can take to a private landlord anywhere in the city of Seattle. From the date your voucher is issued, you will have 120 days to locate a suitable rental unit and request tenancy approval from the Housing Authority. You must find a place within 120 days after your voucher is issued, or your voucher will expire.
I'm a victim of domestic violence. Does this give me waiting list priority?
Applicants on our waiting list are contacted in the order of their assigned position number. Being a victim of domestic violence will not give you preference to receiving a Voucher sooner than your position number allows. However, if we are aware of imminent threat of harm, we are able to expedite processing of your application once it has been returned.
If I'm issued a Housing Choice Voucher, can I use it outside of Seattle?
After your initial year on the Program you may request to use your Voucher in any other city or location where a Housing Choice Voucher Program is administered.
What if I have special needs?
Please tell us if you need assistance of any kind to access our services, and let us know if you need special features in your housing. (For example, we can often provide large print materials, wheelchair accessibility, customized interviews, and housing in specific locations.) If you need an interpreter or a translator, tell us, and we will provide one for you. We will make every effort to meet your needs.
How do I change my address with Seattle Housing Authority?
You must tell Seattle Housing Authority in person or in writing of any change in your address. To submit a change of address in person, fill out a change of address form at our Central Office:
Seattle Housing Authority
Housing Service Center
P.O. Box 19028
190 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle WA 98109-1028
Otherwise, write a brief letter that includes your name, Social Security Number, previous address, and new address. Fax this letter to 206-239-1770 or mail it to the Housing Service Center at the address above. Please note that changing your address with the United States Postal Service does not change your address with Seattle Housing Authority. You must update us separately.
May I add or remove others from my application?
If you would like to add or remove people from your application, you will have the opportunity to do that at the time you submit your application materials. It is not necessary to notify us of changes to your household circumstances before we reach your position number on the waiting list.
How do I cancel my application?
You may cancel your application at any time by writing to the Housing Service Center at the address listed above. When cancelling your pre-application, please include your name and Social Security number and the program(s) for which you applied.
Can Seattle Housing Authority deny assistance?
Yes. Even if you can prove that you need housing, Seattle Housing Authority is required by federal law and regulations to deny assistance if you do not qualify.
Does Seattle Housing Authority verify personal information?
Yes. At various stages of the application process, Seattle Housing Authority may verify all sources of your income, credit records, criminal and residential history, and any other factors that may affect your eligibility for our program. Seattle Housing Authority will not share your personal information with others without your consent.