Housing Authorities in Washington

State of Housing in WashingtonWashington State received a total of $40,353,895 from March to May this year to renew support for local housing projects and housing programs for the homeless. There are several types of housing subsidies for low-income renters in Washington. All tenants in subsidized housing are covered under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act and many programs provide tenants with additional protections above and beyond state law.

Emergency Assistance

A family eligible for public assistance when facing eviction may ask for assistance from Washington State’s Department of Social & Health Services. The agency offers AREN, an acronym for "additional requirements for emergency needs." AREN will provide you with up to $750 per year, either in a one-time payment or spread out over several months, depending on the particulars of your case. DSHS pays the money directly to your landlord.

Transitional Housing, Operating and Rent Program

The Transitional Housing, Operating and Rent program, or THOR, helps families and pregnant women who are already homeless. It will place you in state-approved housing and pay your rent for up to two years if you participate in a rehabilitation program designed to help you achieve the skills and income you need to be self-sufficient. You must earn less than half the median income for the county where you're applying, and THOR pays the housing provider on your behalf. Contact THOR at 360-725-2997 if you think you qualify.

Tenant Based Rental Assistance

The TBRA Rental Assistance Program provides low-income and struggling households with security and utility deposits, and will help also them with paying up to 12 months of rent. There is also aid available for homeless and families in transition. The Tenant Based Rental Assistance program will help you with your rent payments for up to a year and mightState of Housing in Washington provide you with a security deposit under some circumstances. TBRA is also reserved for families who earn less than 50 percent of their area's median income. It will contribute up to 70 percent of your rent each month if you qualify.

Federal Programs

The U.S. government provides a voucher program and the Rural Rental Assistance program to Washington residents. With the voucher program, if your landlord is willing to accept assistance funds on your behalf, you would provide him with your voucher and he can submit it to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for payment. Your dwelling must meet HUD's standards for suitability. The voucher program helps the disabled, elderly and very-low income families, and federal law mandates that 75 percent of its funds go to families who earn less than 30 percent of their area's median income. Rural Rental Assistance will contribute 70 percent of your rent if the owner of your rural multi-family housing unit is under contract with the government for this program.

Rural Rental Assistance

The Rural Rental Assistance (RA) program provides an additional source of support for households with incomes too low to pay the USDA Rural Development subsidized (basic) rent from their own resources. USDA Rural Development pays the owner of a multi-family housing complex the difference between the tenant's contribution (30 percent of adjusted income) and the monthly rental rate.Priority for RA in housing financed by Section 515 is given to a project either if a market study indicates the greatest percentage of prospective tenants need RA or if the area has the greatest housing need within the state and is selected for funding in accordance with the weighted criteria.

Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers

Administered by Public Housing Authorities, the Housing Choice Voucher, or Section 8 voucher program, allows tenants to take a voucher to a private landlord to secure low-income housing on the private market. Voucher tenants pay 30-40% of their income to rent and the housing authority pays the difference, up to a specific payment standard, directly to the landlord. Landlords sign a contract with the housing authority, and tenants have a lease directly with the landlord. This arrangement forms a three-way contractual agreement binding together the housing authority, tenant and landlord. Tenants are eligible for Section 8 vouchers if their income is 30% of area median income or below. HUD rules require that all members of a household be able to prove legal residency.

Low Income Public Housing

Low Income Public Housing (LIPH) units are owned and operated by housing authorities. Tenants pay 30% of their income to rent, minus applicable deductions. Units are subject to regular inspections by PHA management. Public housing tenants are also required to participate in monthly community service or self-sufficiency activities. Changes toState of Housing in Washington income and household status must be reported to the housing authority within 10 days. Failure to do so may result in eviction. LIPH tenants are required to sign one year leases. HUD rules require that all household members receiving subsidies be able to prove legal residency.

HUD housing is multifamily complexes that are privately owned and subsidized by the federal government. HUD housing is available to people with incomes at or below 30% or 50% of the area median income, and some buildings are reserved specifically for elderly or disabled renters or people who are currently without a permanent address who are seeking housing. Generally, private owners hire companies to manage the properties. HUD inspections occur regularly to ensure housing quality and tenant income must be certified annually. Tenants are required to report all changes to household members and income to the management promptly. All household members receiving a subsidy are required to prove legal residency under HUD rules.

Homebuyers, Homeowners, and Tenants’ education

HUD provides counseling service through approximately 1,700 HUD-approved counseling agencies. These agencies are public and private nonprofit organizations with housing counseling skills and knowledge of HUD, VA, and conventional housing programs. The funding helps the approved agencies partially meet their operating expenses.

Self-Help Housing Property Disposition

The property must be used for self-help housing for low-income persons. Residents of the property must make a substantial contribution of labor toward the construction, rehabilitation, or refurbishment of the property. HUD has the right to take the property back if it is not used in accordance with program requirements.

Family Self-Sufficiency Program

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is administered by public housing agencies (PHAs) with the help of program coordinating committees (PCCs). The PCC usually consists of representatives of local government, employment and job training agencies, welfare agencies, nonprofit providers, local businesses, and assisted families.

Lead Hazard Control

This program promotes preventive measures to correct multiple safety and health hazards in the home environment. It addresses childhood lead-based paint poisoning and other childhood diseases associated with poor housing conditions such as exposure to moisture, mold, poor air quality, lead paint, residential application of pesticides, the presence ofState of Housing in Washington allergens, vermin, dust, and other substances that contribute to asthma, and hazardous conditions that increase the risk of injury.

Veterans Housing

The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance for homeless Veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA provides these services for participating Veterans at VA medical centers (VAMCs) and community-based outreach clinics.After determining which areas of the country have the highest number of homeless Veterans, the VA Central Office identifies VA facilities in the corresponding communities. HUD then selects PHAs near to the identified VA facilities, taking into consideration the PHAs’ administrative performance, and sends the PHAs invitations to apply for the vouchers.

Income eligibility

Each program discussed above includes its eligibility requirement. The table below shows the HUD prescribed income limits for those who want to apply for public housing and rent assistance.

Income Limits for Housing Subsidy in Washington

FY 2013 Very Low-Income (50%) Limit (VLIL)
Income Limit Information Median Family Income 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 VLIL $71,600 $25,050 $28,650 $32,200 $35,800 $38,650 $41,550 $44,400 $47,250
FY 2013 Extremely Low-Income (30%) Limit (ELIL)
Income Limit Information 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 ELIL $15,050 $17,200 $19,350 $21,500 $23,200 $24,900 $26,650 $28,350
FY 2013 Low-Income (80%) Limit (LIL)
Income Limit Information 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
FY 2013 LIL $40,100 $45,800 $51,550 $57,300 $61,850 $66,450 $71,050 $75,600

Unemployment Rate in Washington

The unemployment rate for Washington fell 0.3 percentage points in April 2013 to 7.0%. The state unemployment rate was 0.5 percentage points lower than the national rate for the month. It peaked in December 2009 at 10.2% and is now 3.2 percentage points lower.

Unemployment RateMarch 2013Month/MonthYear/Year
National 7.5% -0.1 -0.6
Washington 7.0% -0.3 -1.4

The demand for housing and rent subsidy programs in Washington exceeds the available housing stock and supply of funds. Please ask your housing agency for details of the programs you are interested in.