Eligibility - Housing Choice Vouchers

Application for a chance to receive a Seattle Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher is ongoing. Applicants on the voucher list will be chosen at random when vouchers are available. Applicants need to meet several criteria and preferences at the time they are drawn from the list to be eligible.

Application is open to adults 18 years or older or emancipated minors, no matter where they currently live, however applicants selected for a voucher will initially be required to use the voucher within the city of Seattle for a minimum of one year.

SHA will review eligibility and verify income at the time applicants are selected from the list. Applicants who meet the voucher program eligibility requirements and meet the program preferences will be served.

Income level requirements

  • Applicants with a total household income of 30 percent or less of Area Median Income at the time of selection or for the 12 months prior to selection and applicants who are homeless at the time of selection or have been in the prior 12 months will receive preference. AMI 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.
  • Applicants with a total household income of 31 through 50 percent of Area Median Income and have not been homeless in the past 12 months will be returned to the list until all eligible applicants who meet the preferences have been served.
  • Applicants with a total household income above 50 percent of Area Median Income are not eligible for a voucher and will be removed from the list.   

Immigration status 

An applicant does not need to be a United States citizen to apply for housing, but at least one household member does need to be a citizen or have eligible immigration status to receive housing assistance. Learn more about how immigration status affects assistance

Criminal history 

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 

Debt owed to SHA 

Seattle Housing Authority may deny the applications of households who owe money to SHA or another housing authority until the debt is repaid in full. 

Previous termination 

Seattle Housing Authority may deny applications if any member of the household has been terminated from the Housing Choice Voucher Program for violating any family obligation in the past five years. 

Unit/Landlord eligibility 

A rental unit is eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher program if it meets three criteria: it is affordable, it is rent-reasonable and it passes an inspection based on the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development's Housing Quality Standards. For more information about how to lease a unit with a voucher, visit Renting with a voucher.

Any landlord 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. For additional information visit Landlords.


Questions? Contact us