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Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is designed to answer questions about Seattle Housing Authority’s (SHA) waitlist lottery for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, formerly known as Section 8. If you have additional questions after reviewing these materials, please call the HCV waitlist hotline at 206-239-1674, while it is active between 8 a.m. on February 6, 2017 and 5 p.m. on February 24, 2017, Pacific Time.

What is the HCV program?
The HCV program is a federally funded rental assistance program that helps people with low incomes rent homes in the private market.

When will the HCV waitlist lottery open?
Registration will be available online only, and will be open from 8 a.m. on February 6, 2017 until 5 p.m. on February 24, 2017, Pacific Time.

Is there a chance the registration period will close before February 24?
No. It will remain open until 5 pm Pacific Time that day. Everyone who registers during the open period has an equal chance of being selected.

Why are you using a lottery to determine positions on the HCV waitlist lottery? Wouldn’t it be fairer if the list were first-come, first-served?
The lottery allows an equal chance for all registered households to receive one of 3,500 spots on the waitlist.

How do I register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Registration is only available at seattlehousing.org/waitlist, not at any other website.

Who can register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Registration is open to adults 18 years old or older or emancipated minors, no matter where they currently live, however successful voucher applicants will initially be required to use the voucher within the city of Seattle for a minimum of one year.

At the time an applicant is called off the waitlist the total household income must be 50 percent or less of area median income (AMI). Preference will be given to households that are at 30 percent or less of AMI. An AMI chart can be found at http://www.seattlehousing.org/housing/vouchers/eligibility/

Does it cost anything to register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
No. Registration is free. If you are asked for money, you are on the wrong site. No one can promise you a spot on the waitlist. Avoid scams by not searching the internet for the waitlist, and not clicking on ads. The only way to register is at seattlehousing.org/waitlist, and the safest way to register is to type this into your internet browser’s address bar.

What information do I need to register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Unfinished registrations can’t be saved and incomplete registrations will not be entered into the lottery, so have this information ready before beginning registration:

  • The date of birth and social security number for each member of your household;
  • Total annual income of your household;
  • An email address so we can send you confirmation that you’ve registered; and
  • A mailing address where you can receive U.S. mail so that we can contact you regarding the HCV waitlist lottery.
  • If you are missing information or are unclear, please call the HCV waitlist hotline at 206-239-1674 after 8 a.m. on February 6.

I need language assistance/technical assistance/don’t have access to a computer. How can I register?
For language or technical assistance, please call the HCV waitlist hotline at 206-239-1674 after 8 a.m. on February 6. Those who do not have access to a computer can use public computers at some branches of The Seattle Public Library and King County Library System, and other neighborhood sites. A list of locations is available at seattlehousing.org/waitlist or by calling the hotline after 8 a.m. on February 6.

How many households can register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
There is no limit to the number.

Should everyone in my household register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
No. The head of household is the only person who should register for the lottery. Multiple registrations per household may result in disqualification from the lottery.

My household is already on an HCV program waitlist. Should I sign us up for this lottery, too? 
If you are already placed on SHA’s HCV waitlist that was originally established in 2015, there is no need to register for this lottery. Households still on our waitlist will receive first priority as vouchers become available. If you are on an HCV waitlist at another housing authority, such as King County Housing Authority, you may also register for SHA’s lottery. 

I registered for the HCV waitlist through another Public Housing Authority. May I also register for SHA’s?
Yes.

Do I need to be disabled or have children to register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
No.

I live in Low Income Public Housing. May I still register for SHA’s HCV waitlist lottery?
Yes.

I am on the Low Income Public Housing waitlist. May I also register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Yes.

My family recently moved to Seattle. May we register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Yes.

I don’t live in Seattle. May I register for the HCV waitlist lottery?
Yes.  Registration is open to adults 18 years old or older or emancipated minors, no matter where they currently live, however successful voucher applicants will initially be required to use the voucher within the city of Seattle for a minimum of one year.

If I register for the HCV waitlist lottery, does this mean I’m applying for housing assistance?
No. Registering for the HCV waitlist lottery is not an application for housing.

When will I find out if I received a place on the HCV waitlist?
Once the registration period is closed, 3,500 registered households will be randomly selected to be placed on the waitlist. Letters will be mailed by March 31, 2017 notifying all registered households whether or not they received a place on the new waitlist.

If I am randomly selected in the lottery to be placed on the HCV waitlist, when can I expect to receive my voucher?
SHA will begin issuing vouchers in May 2017. It will take two to three years to issue all 3,500 vouchers. People with low randomly selected waitlist numbers will receive their voucher sooner than people with higher waitlist numbers. When your name reaches the top of the waitlist SHA will contact you via U.S. mail.

Are there other housing options? My family needs housing right now.
Please view the Affordable Housing flyer:
seattlehousing.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Flyer-Affordable-Housing.pdf