Housing Opportunity Program FAQs
Changes to the Housing Opportunity Program
Effective May 1, 2022, THA will no longer issue new HOP subsidies. New households will receive traditional, income-based Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV), commonly referred to as Section 8. Current HOP households will be transitioned over to income-based rental assistance in phases over the course of the year.
What is HOP?
HOP (Housing Opportunity Program) helps low-income households pay the rent each month to their private landlords. It replaces the Section 8 program. HOP provides households with a fixed subsidy based on household size instead of income. Also, if you are considered work-able, your rental subsidy will be limited to five years. Seniors and/or people with disabilities have no time limit.
What is the purpose of the five-year time limit for people who can work?
The time limit for HOP vouchers serves two purposes:
- It gives people an incentive to increase their income. We offer services to help them do that.
- Second, a time limit recognizes that tens of thousands of other people also need help. Unfortunately, we cannot serve everyone who needs help. A time limit gives other people a turn.
We know that a time limit also means that people may lose their assistance even if they still need it for longer. We will grant limited extensions on the time limit in case of serious hardship.
Why won’t my share of the rent be based on my income?
Households of the same size get the same amount of subsidy. If the household income goes up, its share of the rent would not go up. In this way, the household would keep all of its increased income. If the household income goes down, its share of the rent would not go down. The household would have to make up the difference.
This serves three main purposes:
- It gives households an incentive to increase their income.
- It makes the program a lot easier to explain to tenants and landlords.
- It makes the program less expensive to administer.
Why doesn’t THA offer Section 8 anymore?
In the HOP program, we reduced the subsidy amount households receive. This has allowed us to manage budget cuts without removing anyone from the program or without reducing other services.
I’m a senior and/or person with a disability. Do these rules apply to me?
A senior and/or person with a disability will receive the same fixed subsidy as other recipents. Your voucher will not have any time limits, with the following exceptions:
- If a member of your household is work-able (not disabled and between the ages of 18 and 57 at admission) your household will have a time limit.
- If you add a work-able person to your household, your household will have a time limit.
I want Section 8 and not the HOP program. Do I have a choice?
No. We no longer offer the traditional Section 8 program to new applicants. HOP has replaced it.
What’s the difference between HOP and Public Housing?
Public housing is housing property that THA owns. Under present rules, if you live in public housing, your rent is based on your income. Under present rules, you can also stay in public housing as long as you need it and remain eligible. If you move from Public Housing, your housing subsidy does not go with you – it stays with the unit.
HOP is a fixed-subsidy program that ends after five years (for work-able households). With HOP, you can move within our boundary and your subsidy would go with you to help you pay the rent on your next home.
Are you accepting Public Housing applications?
We have combined our public housing and voucher program waitlists into one waitlist. We no longer have separate public housing and voucher program waitlists.
Our waitlist is currently closed. When the waitlist opens, applications will be received for the combined waitlist. Although the time you may spend on the waitlist may be long, it is our goal that applicants will be housed within two years of applying.
Learn more about the waitlist.
I want to apply to the HOP wait list. What should I do?
Notification will be posted to our website and Facebook page, sent to local news sources prior to the application period starting. During this time, go to the front page of this website and click the application link.
Make sure you only use this website to apply. There is no charge to apply. Some fake websites charge money for what they say is a way to apply. They are fake websites put up by dishonest people to cheat you. Don’t be fooled. If you are in doubt, you can contact us to verify you are using the correct website to apply.
If I apply, does that mean I get on the waitlist?
No. We expect nearly 10,000 applications during the 10-day application period. When the application period ends, we will remove duplicate and incomplete applications. Then we will randomly choose a specific number applications from the completed applications and will place those applicants on our waitlist.
If I get on the waitlist, where on the waitlist will I end up? How long will I have to wait to get to the top of the waitlist?
Once we randomly select the applications for the waitlist we will randomly rank them. A person ending up at the bottom of that list will probably wait two years or more before reaching the top of the list.
If I get on the waitlist and then get to the top of it, am I guaranteed to get a HOP voucher?
No. When you get to the top of the list, we will check to make sure you are eligible under the program rules.
I’m already on the waitlist. Do I need to apply again?
If you are already on the waitlist, then you do not need to reapply. You can call our office (253-207-4400) to confirm whether or not you are on the waitlist and to make sure we have the most accurate and up-to-date information.
If I do not get on the waitlist, what can I do?
We are very sorry we cannot serve everyone. If you do not get on the waitlist, here are some other steps you can take:
- You can get information at Pierce County Human Services about other places in Pierce County that might be helpful.
- You can apply again the next time we open waitlist.
I’m homeless now. What do I do? How long will this take?
HOP is not a way to get emergency help. Even if our lottery selects your application for the waitlist, it may take two years or longer before you will receive a voucher. If you are homeless now in Pierce County, you can contact the United Way by dialing “2-1-1” for referrals to other community resources.
What is Access Point 4 Housing (AP4H)?
AP4H is the best way to find out about most homeless assistance programs and receive assistance in Pierce County.
Will I improve my chances of being selected if I apply multiple times?
No, we will only count your first application.
Some websites promise my chances improve if I pay. Will paying help?
NO! These websites are SCAMS! They will take your money and your “application” with them. We do not charge to apply. The only website you should use to apply for Tacoma Housing Authority assistance is www.tacomahousing.org. If another website is trying to get your information to apply, please report it to us immediately.
I do not own a computer and/or I need help with the online application process. How do I get help?
We can help you complete the application over the phone at the time of the opening. Call 253-207-4400. Or you can visit any of THA’s application centers and someone will help you. Public libraries also offer free computer use and there are typically staff members who can assist you.
I need help, but I am not comfortable giving you my information over the phone, what should I do?
You can come to one of the THA application centers and someone can help you complete the application online.
Do I have to live in Tacoma if I receive a HOP voucher? What are the boundaries?
You must live in Pierce County within 2.5 miles of the boundary of Tacoma. View the boundary map.
Can I take the HOP voucher and move outside of Tacoma?
HOP participants are not eligible to relocate to another jurisdiction (we call this porting out). THA will only allow port outs for approved reasonable accommodations and anything that falls underneath the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) unless the receiving public housing authority absorbs the household.