Eligibility - SHA Housing

Eligibility for SHA Housing is based on income, age and/or disability, citizenship and immigration status and general tenant screening criteria.

Please read the eligibility information carefully because requirements are different for each program.

  • Applicants earning 30% or less of Area Median Income (AMI) or who are homeless. 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. receive priority on the waitlist, but households earning 80% or less of AMI are eligible to apply. 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 will be screened to verify if they qualify for priority after they have been selected from the waiting list. Applicants must meet aforementioned income limits or homeless status as of the day of their eligibility interview or within the 12-month period prior.

Because SHA primarily serves people at or below 30% of Area Median Income (AMI), availability for households at income levels above that is extremely limited.

  • Some LIPH properities have units that are student restricted. If you have full-time students in your household, you may not be eligible for some units.

Rent: Typically residents pay 30 percent of the total household’s monthly adjusted income for rent and utilities.

Bedrooms per unit: The number of bedrooms you are eligible for is based on your household composition.

  • To qualify, the head of household, spouse or other adult family member must be at least 62 years or older or an adult with a disability. (Please note: Availability is limited for those with eligibility based only on disability if under age 62. Applicants 62 years or older receive first priority.)
  • Applicants already living in Seattle receive priority on the waitlist. 
  • Seniors may apply to SSHP in addition to SHA’s other housing programs.
  • The total household annual income must be a minimum of $11,100 for one or two person household, and a maximum of 80% of Area median Income (AMI).

Rent: Residents are charged one of several rent levels, depending on income, the number of people in the household, and the number of bedrooms. See rent schedule 

Throughout its properties, SHA also has a limited number of units that differ in eligibility, rent and application process than the two main programs above, and may also vary from property to property.  Here are descriptions of the two additional programs. 

Special Portfolio - Income eligibility limits vary by property. Tenants typically pay 30% of income for rent, but some may pay market rate.

Tax Credit  - Income limits vary by property. Rent is not subsidized and tenants typically pay market rate. There is no eligibility criteria around citizenship for this type of housing.

Screening criteria

Like most landlords, SHA screens rental applicants. 

  • To be considered suitable, you must be able to pay rent when due, take care of the unit, and live peacefully with your neighbors. 
  • SHA examines housing history, credit history, employment.
  • SHA also examines criminal history for SHA’s federally subsidized housing1, consistent with federal requirements and does not automatically ban persons with criminal history. SHA will review and consider each applicant’s criminal history on a case-by-case basis.
  • SHA’s federally subsidized housing1 is exempt from the City of Seattle’s First in Time Ordinance requirement that landlords rent to the first person who submits a complete housing application.
  • The City of Seattle requires all landlords to inform applicants that the landlord is prohibited from taking an adverse action against a tenant based on eviction history occurring during or within six months after the end of the civil emergency proclaimed by Mayor Jenny Durkan on March 3, 2020, and that the Seattle Office for Civil Rights is the department that will enforce any violations of this ordinance. For low-income public housing applicants, this prohibition may be superseded by federal law and US Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations in some circumstances.  

Citizenship and immigration status

  • You do not need to be a U.S. citizen at the time of application. 
  • However, for federally subsidized housing1, at the time of move-in at least one household member must either be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status. Full assistance is provided to households where every member has eligible citizenship status. Pro-rated assistance is provided to households with at least one eligible member. Your immigration eligibility will be verified after you are contacted about a vacancy. Learn more about how citizenship and immigration status affects assistance.

Typically housing that is not federally subsidized1 does not have citizenship or immigration status requirements.

Questions? Contact us

1Federally assisted housing includes: Low Income Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers (project-based and tenant-based), most Seattle Senior Housing Program.