Eligibility - Housing Choice Vouchers
Applicants need to meet several criteria to be eligible for assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. Landlords and their rental units must also meet eligibility standards.
Seattle Housing Authority uses a lottery to place applicants on a waitlist for the HCV program.
At the time an applicant is called off the waitlist the total household income must not exceed:
50 percent of area median income (AMI). Preference will be given to households with incomes that do not exceed 30 percent of AMI. 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.
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 community by others. However, 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 who:
- Is subject to a lifetime registration requirement for sexual offense in any state
- 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 such as:
- 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
An applicant does not need to be a United States citizen to apply for housing, but does need to be a citizen or have eligible immigration status to receive housing. Learn more about how immigration status affects assistance.
Seattle Housing Authority will deny the applications of households who owe money to the agency or another housing authority until the debt is repaid in full.
Seattle Housing Authority will deny applications if any member of the household has been terminated from the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the past five years.
A rental unit is eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher program if it meets three criteria: it is properly zoned, it is rent-reasonable and it passes an inspection based on the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Quality Standards.
Any landlord willing to work within the guidelines of the Housing Choice Voucher program is eligible to participate, as long as they are in good standing with Seattle Housing Authority.
Landlords may be barred from participating if they have breached leases with tenants or violated laws or program rules. Landlords are not allowed to rent units to relatives who are voucher holders.