Low-income households encouraged to apply; 2,500 will be placed on waiting list

By Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications. For Runta News, Seattle

The King County Housing Authority will open a lottery 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 will be able to apply online starting at 7 a.m. on Feb. 12 until 4 p.m. on 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. “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 with the exception of Feb. 17, President’s Day:

  • 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)

  • Ballinger Homes, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. (206) 574-1243

2200 NE 201st Place, Shoreline, Wash. 98155

  • Birch Creek, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. (206) 315-4360

27360 129th Place SE, Kent, Wash. 98030

  • Seola Gardens, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. (206)829-2465

11215 5th Ave. SE, Seattle, Wash. 98146

  • Spiritwood Manor, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. (206) 315-4380

1424 148th Ave. SE, Bellevue, Wash.98007

Please check kcha.org/lottery for additional locations as they are made available.

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. KCHA expects thousands of families to apply in February over this two-week period. At the end of the application period, KCHA will use a computer-randomized lottery to select 2,500 applicants for placement on the Section 8 waiting list.  As long as an applicant signs up during the waiting list lottery period, they have an equal chance of being placed on the waiting list; this is not a first-come, first-served process. KCHA will notify applicants if they have been selected for placement on the waiting list by March 31.

Please visit kcha.org/lottery for information about eligibility and answers to other frequently asked questions about the process. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) have been translated into 11 languages in addition to English. Applicants needing assistance in applying can call (206) 214-1300 weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific Time, with the exception of Monday, Feb. 17, when the office will be closed in observance of President’s Day.

Note to media: A social media toolkit announcing the waiting list lottery application opening is available at https://www.kcha.org/housing/vouchers

About KCHA

KCHA, an independent municipal corporation established under state law, assists over 21,000 households (more than 50,000 individuals) in the Seattle metropolitan region, including 20,000 children, on a daily basis. The agency administers rental housing assistance, develops and manages affordable housing and works closely with community stakeholders to address local priorities such as ending homelessness, improving educational outcomes for the region’s low-income youth and assuring that disabled and elderly households can live with dignity.