Having Trouble Understanding?

It's confusing, we know. Unfortunately there's not just one place an individual or a family can call or visit to apply for affordably priced, low income or subsidized apartment in Washington State. But it's a good thing that you have a variety of choices, and we want to help you understand the range of choices offered to you.

aptfinder.org lists hundreds of apartment communities in an effort to help low-income households find affordable apartments for which they are qualified. We strive to provide flexible search options for our many property listings, including full-page property details, direct contact information, and other helpful resources.

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In addition, we also offer you many opportunities to learn more about our website and affordable housing through our "Tell Me More" pop-up boxes throughout our website. Don't be afraid to click on them for clarifications.

There are three MAIN sources of affordable housing in Washington State.

Privately owned Project Based subsidized rental housing
Apply directly at the property or the management office.

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) provide private and non-profit owners contracts to subsidize qualified low income tenants so their rent is no more than 30% of their income. These are also called subsidized or income-based properties. Income limits apply.
  • The subsidy is built into the property and is not portable or transferrable upon move out. Some properties have all units covered under the subsidy contract, others only some of the units are covered.
  • Download a brochure about HUD's Key Programs and lean more!

Washington State Tax Credit or Tax Exempt Bond funded properties
Apply directly at the property or the management office.

  • The Washington State Finance Commission (WSHFC) awards private and non-profit owners Tax Credits and/or Tax Exempt Bonds that help reduce the owners tax burden in exchange for a contractual agreement to keep rents affordable to low income households.
  • By themselves, these properties do not offer a subsidized rent, however the rents are well below the market rent for the area and the Finance Commission determines maximum rents allowed to be charged. Income limits apply.
  • The rent amount that a household would qualify to pay depends upon the households annual income level. Sometimes the property also had a subsidy contract through HUD or USDA that subsidizes the rent. In addition, all Tax Credit and Bond properties accept Housing Authority Section 8 vouchers.
  • Tax Credit and Bon d properties must comply with a number of requirements regarding tenant income, maximum rent levels, and the percentage of low-income occupancy. The building must remain in compliance for a minimum of 15 years.

Public Housing and Housing Authority provided Housing Choice Vouchers
Apply with your local Public Housing Agency (PHA)

  • Local Housing Authorities receive aid from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop and manage Public Housing communities throughout Washington State for low-income households.
  • The Housing Authority will determine an applicant's eligibility, explain the program and provide a list of openings at their Public Housing communities. If qualified, your rent will be subsidized by the Housing Authority and you will pay about 30% of your income for rent. The subsidy at Public Housing properties is built into the property and is generally not portable nor transferrable upon move out.
  • Housing Choice Section 8 Vouchers are administered locally by public housing agencies(PHAs). These vouchers are called "Tenant-Based" as opposed to "Project-Based" like the HUD or USDA program listed above.
  • Tenant-Based" means that although the vouchers are issued at the PHA, a household with a voucher is responsible for finding a suitable housing unit of their choice, where the owner agrees to rent to them under the program. This unit may include the family's present residence. It is a portable voucher and stays with the household, not with the property, at move out.
  • The PHAs receive federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to administer the voucher program. Subsidy is paid directly to the PHA on the tenant's behalf and then the PHA in turns pays the owner of the property each month. The PHA calculates the maximum amount of subsidy allowable. The tenant pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the owner and the amount subsidized by the program. The maximum subsidy is generally the lesser of the payment standard minus 30% of the family's monthly adjusted income or the gross rent for the unit minus 30% of monthly adjusted income.
  • Some PHAs have long or closed waiting lists, so you may want to apply at more than one PHA. Your PHA can also give you a list of locations at which your voucher can be used. There are many types of Housing Choice Vouchers depending upon your needs.

Find Your Local Public Housing Agency (PHA)

If you would like specific information about Public Housing and Housing Choice vouchers through your local PHA, contact them directly.

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