For immediate release
For more information contact:
Rhonda Rosenberg, Director of Communications
King County Housing Authority
Demand for housing assistance remains strong
The King County Housing Authority received more than 22,000 applications for Section 8 rental assistance from the King County Housing Authority during a two-week application period that closed on Feb. 10.
The 22,615 families that submitted an application represent 50,100 individuals living in extreme poverty and unstable housing including nearly 22,000 children − 35 percent of whom are homeless. Of these, one out of every four children are in a household fleeing domestic violence.
In addition, 12,116 applicants are seniors and people with disabilities and 906 applicants are veterans who have served in America’s armed forces.
"These numbers show that there is simply not enough affordable housing for low-income households in King County,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority. “The region is becoming too expensive for many folks already living here− seniors whose monthly Social Security check is less than the cost of rent; families with children where low wages aren’t keeping up with rising rents; veterans struggling to find stable housing. A staggering 42 percent of the households who applied are homeless.”
A lottery will be held in March to determine which of the 22,615 families will be placed on the waiting list, which will be capped at 2,500 slots. The first applicants on the list will be issued vouchers in April. Depending on federal funding, those at the tail end of the list could face a wait of four or more years to obtain a voucher.
The Section 8 Housing Choice voucher program targets low-income households most in need of housing in King County. Applicants must be homeless or about to become homeless, live in substandard housing or be spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent. A typical household in KCHA’s program has an average income of $14,200.
Currently, KCHA Section 8 program provides rental assistance to 11,300 families in King County. More than 3,200 landlords participate in the program.
Generally the program pays the difference between the rent charged by a housing owner and the assisted household’s rental contribution, which is set at approximately 30 percent of the household’s income adjusted for family size and utility costs.
"Finding decent, affordable housing in King County is a tremendous challenge for poor people,” Norman said. “For elderly and disabled individuals on fixed incomes, for low-wage families, decent housing is often beyond reach − and the most vulnerable members of our community are increasingly being forced to choose between food, medicine or rent. More and more are going homeless. Children who lack stable housing often fail to acquire the skills, knowledge and confidence to achieve in school. And in no community should veterans, the men and women who have served our nation, ever be faced with the prospect of living on the streets.”
KCHA, an independent municipal corporation established under state law, assists over 18,000 families 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.