If you have not participated in a housing program before, do not worry. We have helped thousands of people work through this process. We will answer the questions most commonly asked, and help you find more information on other pages where a short answer is not enough.
Can you help me get into housing today?
Help with housing begins with knowing what you need
Are you currently homeless or need emergency housing?
VHA does not provide emergency housing, but we can connect you with organizations with resources to help you today. If you are homeless and need emergency housing, please call the Council for the Homeless Housing Solutions at 360-695-9677.
Do you need help paying your rent?
There are many organizations in our area with resources that can help you if you are in a temporary financial crisis:
- Get emergency funding for rental assistance
- Help with food for your family
- Employment resources
Are you looking for long-term housing?
Vancouver Housing Authority focuses on long-term housing solutions. We can help you work through the process to get into housing that will work for you in the long run. Our housing programs provide opportunities for people struggling to get into long-term housing because of income, disability, or special needs challenges.
VHA programs include:
- Subsidized Housing owned and/or managed by VHA
- Section 8
- Affordable non-subsidized housing
- Special Needs housing
- and more...
Am I eligible for housing?
Eligibility for housing assistance
Eligibility for most housing programs is based on your annual income, family status, citizenship, and eviction/disqualification status.
Each program has requirements specific to that program.
Every year the the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sets income level requirements for housing based on the Area Median Income (AMI). "Area median income" is simply the middle income for households in our area. All sources of income for your family are added together to find your annual income. You may be eligible for housing assistance if the yearly income for your family qualifies as low-income, very low-income, or extremely low income.
- Low-income: 80% of the area median income
- Very low-income: 50% of the area median income
- Extremely low-income: 30% of the area median income
Income limits are different for different programs. Income limits are also based on the size of your family.
You must meet the income requirements for your family (household) size. Income limits are set at 50% of the area median income and below based on the number of family members.
To determine if your family is qualified for a program, you will find the number of persons in your family, and compare the annual income for your family with the same number of persons in family and qualifying income level for the program. Using the chart below as an example, if you have 5 family members and your annual income is $33,000, then your family qualifies for low-income and very low-income housing programs.
Number of persons in family 30% (Extremely Low Income) 50% (Very Low Income) 80% (Low Income) 1 15,400 25,700 41,100 2 17,600 29,350 46,950 3 20,160 33,000 52,800 4 24,300 36,650 58,650 5 28,440 39,600 63,350 6 32,580 42,550 68,050 7 36,730 45,450 72,750 8 40,890 48,400 77,450 9 45,050 51,300 82,100 10 49,210 54,250 86,800
At least one member of the household must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. A full name and social security number must be provided for all family members. If any family member is not a legal resident and does not have a social security number, please contact us at 993-9528 for an alternate ID.
Citizenship requirements may vary per program and/or property. Please read the requirements for each available property carefully.
In general, your household may not include:
- Any person with an eviction history
- Any person that committed any fraud or who currently owes money to VHA or any other federal housing assistance program
- Any person with a drug conviction
- Any person with a lifetime registration under a state sex offender registration program
Additional screening criteria may apply to a specific program or property.
Check income limits for programs:
Some properties have eligibility requirements. Certain properties are only for seniors, families, persons needing assisted living, or persons with special needs. Some properties are only available to smaller families because there are not enough bedrooms for larger families. You will need to read the frequently asked questions (FAQs) carefully when you apply to be certain that you are eligible for each property.
You may be eligible for one or more than one housing program. You may apply for the wait list for each property that you qualify for on our open wait list for Section 8 and Subsidized Housing. You may also apply for any Affordable Non-subsidized Housing VHA owns or manages as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
To learn if you are eligible for any of our programs, please visit the Housing Programs Information page, and learn more about the programs that are available through the VHA.
How do I apply for housing?
How to apply for housing
The three main program areas are Subsidized Housing, Section 8, and Other Housing Programs. You may be qualified for one or more program. You may apply for any housing that your family is qualified for with VHA. Please consider your options carefully. You may want to apply for other low-income housing while you wait for Subsidized or Section 8 housing due to long wait times.
Step 1: Choose a housing program
Step 2: Check eligibility
Each Subsidized Housing program has eligibility requirements specific to the program. Subsidized housing includes programs for:
- Housing for families
- Special Needs
Step 3: Follow the steps to apply for Subsidized Housing
We created a step-by-step guide to help you apply for Subsidized housing.
Step 4: Get applications
You may apply for any housing with an open wait list as long as you qualify for the program and any eligibility requirements for that property. You may apply for each open wait list as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
Subsidized Housing applications for open wait lists can be downloaded on the open wait list, or you can come ot the VHA front desk in our main office and ask for applications. Completed applications must be brought to the VHA main office front desk, or mailed to us at 2500 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660.
Step 2: Check eligibility
The Section 8 program vouchers help families afford safe, decent housing. There are two types of Section 8 vouchers available.
To receive a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), you must have a referral for the program and meet the income requirements set each year by HUD. HCV include special programs such as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) for veterans and Family Unification Program (FUP) for families with foster children and foster children that are aging out of the system.
Section 8 Project Based Vouchers (PBV) are a bit different because they provide housing in a particular unit, and not to the family. Your family must meet Section 8 income limits, and the requirements of the property. You can apply for all PBV properties that you are eligible for on the open wait list.
Step 3: Learn how to apply
Apply for Housing Choice Vouchers: Section 8 HCV require a referral, and allow you to choose a home for your family.
Apply for Project Based Vouchers: As long as your family meets the eligibility requirements, you can apply for all PBV properties on the open wait list.
Step 4: Apply
You may apply for any housing with an open wait list as long as you qualify for the program and any eligibility requirements for that property. You may apply for more than one property as long as you are eligible.
Other housing options are available
If you are not eligible for Subsidized Housing or Section 8, you may be eligible for one of our other housing programs. You may take advantage of other housing options that are available if you ware waiting for Subsidized or Section 8 Housing too.
Affordable non-subsidized housing
VHA owns and manages several non-subsidized affordable housing properties. Rent for these units is based on income and meant to be affordable for those earning less than 80% of the area median income.
There are other low-income housing options available in Southwest Washington too.
To apply for affordable non-subsidized housing, you must contact the property management company.
Do you need Assisted Living?
If you need help with housekeeping, medication managment, and other daily activities, you may want to learn more about Assisted Living. VHA Assisted Living properties are managed by property management companies. You will need to contact the property management company to apply.
What do these terms mean?
Housing agency acronyms and terms
Some words and phrases have special meaning for public housing agencies. If you are not sure what something means, it might be in our glossary of acronyms or terms.
Do you have more questions?
Get more information
We have tried to answer the most common questions people have, but we may have missed something. Please get in touch with us if you cannot find the answer to your question on our website.
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