During a two-week period ending Feb. 10, more than 22,600 households applied for just 2,500 spots on the King County Housing Authority‘s waiting list for Section 8 rental assistance, the agency said this week.
It will hold a lottery in March to determine which applicants will make the list, and those at the end of the list may not receive assistance for another four years or more. Those at the start of the list will get rent vouchers in April.
“These numbers show that there is simply not enough affordable housing for low-income households in King County,” the agency’s executive director, Stephen Norman, said in a statement.
The agency currently provides federally-funded Section 8 assistance to 11,300 families in King County, generally paying the difference between the rent charged by a landlord and 30 percent of a recipient household’s income. The typical Section 8 household has an annual income of $14,200.
The last time the agency opened the waiting list, in 2011, it received nearly 25,000 applications, and that was when eligibility requirements were looser. The agency no longer gives vouchers to non-disabled adults without children, no matter how poor.
The 22,615 recent applications represent 50,100 people, including nearly 22,000 children, more than 12,000 senior citizens and people with disabilities and more than 800 military veterans.
The King County Housing Authority serves Seattle and the rest of the county. The Seattle Housing Authority, which serves only Seattle, last accepted Section 8 applications in 2013, when it created a waiting list of 2,000 households. It received about 24,000 applications.