Q: Who is eligible to participate in CHAP? 

The following are requirements to participate in CHAP:

  • Currently enrolled at Tacoma Community College or University of Washington, Tacoma
  • Has completed a FAFSA/WAFSA
  • Is homeless or near-homeless at the time of application
  • Household income is at or below 50% AMI (area median income)

Homeless high school students who are enrolled in a dual credit program (e.g. Running Start) are also eligible to apply. Please speak with a McKinney-Vento liaison for more information.

Q: What is the difference between homeless and near-homeless?

Definition of homeless: A household that is:

  • In an emergency shelter or in a transitional housing facility or living in a place not suitable for human habitation; or,
  • Is a client of a case-management program serving the homeless; or,
  • Has been discharged or is facing discharge from a public institution (e.g. incarceration, hospital, etc.) without a housing discharge plan; or,
  • Is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, has no other residence, and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing.

Definition of at near-homeless: A household that is experiencing any of the following:

  • Chronically unable to meet basic housing expenses such as rent, mortgage, or utilities that will result in the loss of permanent housing; or,
  • Residing in a motel/hotel due to loss of permanent housing and lacks the resources to remain; or
  • Has lost permanent housing and is living temporarily with a friend or household member and cannot be placed on the lease; or,
  • Eviction notices that will result in loss of permanent housing without any prospect for finding stable new housing; or,
  • Recent history of serious housing instability; or,
  • Has been discharged or is facing discharge from a public institution (e.g. incarceration, hospital, etc.) with a housing discharge plan that provides housing assistance for only 6 months or less.

Q: I am not homeless or near-homeless, but I need help finding housing. Is CHAP able to help me?

Generally speaking, you are not eligible for CHAP. However, if the colleges are unable to fill a vacancy at a participating property the property will accept Pell-eligible students. You may also speak to the CHAP office at your campus to learn about other housing resources. 

Q: Do you have to have a source of income? Does CHAP provide free housing?

All participants in CHAP pay some portion of rent. The average rent paid by a CHAP participant is around $450 (this varies depending on household size). If you do not have any income for rent, we recommend that you call 2-1-1 to learn about other options. 

Q: What are the differences between tenant based vouchers and property based subsidies?

Tenant Based VoucherProperty Based Subsidy
Housing Options/ ProcessesParticipants completed THA/HUD application. Once approved, searches for housing on the private rental market. THA inspects unit. If approved, THA issues partial rent payment to landlord. Tenant pays remaining balance. Participant is referred to participating properties when a unit becomes available to complete a rental application and screening. (THA is not involved in this process.)
Income RequirementAt or below 50% AMI*
Landlords will often require that tenant income is 2.5 – 3 times the rent amount. This will vary by landlord.
Highland Flats: at below 30% AMI and must have income 3 times the rent amount
Crosspointe: at below 30% AMI and must have income 3 times the rent amount Koz properties: ranges between 30 – 50% AMI depending on the unit and must have income 2.5 times rent the amount
Length of AssistanceUp to 5 yearsHighland Flats & Crosspointe: 2 lease renewals
Koz Properties: up to 3 lease renewals 
Household SizeNo maximum1–4 people (largest unit is a 2 bdrm)
Enrollment RequirementsEnrolled in 6+ creditsHighland Flats & Crosspointe: Enrolled at time of lease up
Koz on Market & Koz at the Dome: Enrolled in 6+ credits
*AMI = Area Median Income. See income limits for the Tacoma area.

NOTE: In response to COVID, time limits and non-housing related program requirements are waived until December 2022.

Q: How does financial aid impact my income?

Financial aid is not used to determine your AMI. However, financial aid can be used to demonstrate that you have 2.5 – 3 times the rent amount in order to qualify. Financial aid will not work against you in CHAP. Do not deny financial aid for fear that you will no longer qualify for housing. 

Q: Does CHAP assist with security deposits and/or move-in expenses?

Tacoma Housing Authority only provides rental assistance. Speak with the program staff at your college to find out what additional resources are available. 

Q: What happens if I stop attending school, graduate, or transfer to another college?

Students who disenroll and do not intend to return within a quarter are exited from the program. For students with vouchers, this means THA will stop paying a portion of your rent and you will need to work with your landlord to ensure you can pay the full rent amount on your own. For students at some participating properties (residents at Koz on Market and Koz at the Dome), you will not be offered a lease renewal and will need to move out of your unit at the end of your lease. 

Students who graduate or transfer to another college are able to receive additional assistance if they have not exhausted the maximum amount of assistance. For students using vouchers, you can receive up to 12 months of additional assistance (not to exceed 5 years total assistance). For students at some participating properties (residents at Koz on Market and Koz at the Dome), you will be granted a lease renewal if you have not already exceeded 3 lease renewals at the time of your graduation/transfer. 

Q: If I am graduating or transferring what do I need to do to continue receiving assistance?

You must communicate with the CHAP program staff at your college in order to confirm your graduation/transfer status. College staff will notify THA or the property of the change. THA will send you a letter letting you know the date your assistance will end.