Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

King County Housing Authority (KCHA) is accepting applications for the Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher) Waitlist Lottery. Section 8 vouchers help low-income individuals and families afford rental housing in the private market. Those with the vouchers pay between 28 to 40 percent of their household income for rent and utilities.

All elligible households that apply between 7 a.m. on Feb. 14 and 4 p.m. Feb. 25 will be placed in the lottery. The KCHA then randomly selects 2,500 applicants to be placed on its waitlist. By March 31, those chosen will receive an email, text or letter notifying them of the selection. Updates will also be available at kcha.org.

Renton has its own housing authority, Renton Housing Authority, so residents in the incorportated city limits, as well as those in the City of Seattle for the same reason, aren’t eligible for the KCHA vouchers. Those living in Renton can apply, but the voucher would be offered for a residence outside the city.

RHA has its own section 8 voucher list, which has not held a waitlist lottery since 2012 due to demand. According to the RHA website, about 10-15 vouchers usually become available each year, and 1,561 people are on the RHA Section 8 waitlist. In November, RHA received 25 new vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Those on the RHA waitlist are asked to keep their application contact information up to date to make sure it is easy to contact them when their name comes up.

The application will be available at kcha.org/lottery when it opens, and is always free.

Eligible households must:

■ Have a head of household over 18 years old.

■ Have a person with a disability, someone 62 or older and/or a child under 18 in the household.

■ Be considered low-income

■ Lack a regular nighttime residence; pay more than 50 percent of your income towards rent and basic utilities; need to move due to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault or trafficking; have an inaccessible unit, from natural disaster, government intervention or a hate crime; live in a dilapidated or unsafe unit; and/or are extremely low income.

■ Do not already live in government-subsidized housing (there are some exceptions in extreme cases).More information on eligibility is available at KCHA’s website. At least one person in the household needs a social security number. Those without access to computers can fill out the application at libraries in both King County and Seattle. Other computers are also available for applying at the following locations; KCHA Central Office, 700 Andover Park W. in Tukwila; Ballinger Homes, 2200 NE 201 Pl. in Shoreline; Birch Creek, 27360 129 Pl. SE in Kent; Seola Gardens, 11215 Fifth Ave. SW in Seattle; and Spiritwood Manor, 1424 148 Ave. SE in Bellevue.More assistance is availble from KCHA by calling 206-214-1300 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.For information about other housing assistance programs, call 2-1-1 or visit kcha.org/housing/resources.