The King County Housing Authority opened a lottery Feb. 12 for places on a new waiting list for its Section 8 rental assistance program.
Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers help more than 10,200 households with low incomes rent homes on the private market.
People can apply online through 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Applying is free. A link to the application is only available at kcha.org/lottery, which will take applicants to WaitListCheck.com. The only way to safely apply and avoid misleading websites that may seek to charge fees for applying is to type “kcha,org/lottery” into a web browser.
“With housing costs in the Seattle region among the highest in the nation, Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers are a crucial tool for low-income families struggling to afford the rent,” said KCHA Executive Director Stephen Norman in a news release. “While the need is vastly greater than the resources available to address the problem, opening the waiting list will offer much-needed assistance to an additional 2,500 families, reducing poverty, ending or preventing homelessness, and providing the stability that allows children to succeed in school, and seniors and people with disabilities to live independently and with dignity.”
Eligible families can apply online 24 hours a day during the application period using a smartphone, tablet, or computer with internet access. In addition, free online computer access will be available at King County and Seattle libraries, as well as at the following locations, weekdays only:
• KCHA Central Offices, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (206) 214-1300
700 Andover Park West, Tukwila, Wash. 98188 (Section 8 office)
600 Andover Park West, Tukwila, Wash. 98188 (Administrative office)
• Birch Creek, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. (206) 315-4360
27360 129th Place SE, Kent, Wash. 98030
According to an October 2017 King County Housing Affordability Task Force report, about 118,000 low-income households in King County were severely cost burdened, meaning they spent more than 50 percent of their income on housing. The January 2019 Point-in-Time count found 11,199 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Seattle/King County, and in 2018, Schoolhouse Washington reported that King County had 9,854 students in K-12 public schools who were experiencing homelessness.
The Section 8 program enables low-income families to find a home in the private rental market. Generally, KCHA pays the difference between the rent charged by a landlord and the assisted family’s rental income, which is set at approximately 30 percent of the household’s income.
Because the demand for vouchers is very high and applicants are only pulled from the waiting list when a currently participating household exits the program, the waiting list is usually closed to new applications. KCHA last opened the Section 8 waiting list lottery in April 2017. The last households on that list will be served by April.