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Tacoma Housing Authority will open low-income housing waitlist

The outside of a brick building with a sign that reads "HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF TACOMA 902". There's flag staff to the right of the entrance of the building with an American flag and Washington State flag.
Mayowa Aina
The outside the Tacoma Housing Authority office building located on 902 S L St Tacoma, Wa on Monday March 20, 2023.

The Tacoma Housing Authority is running out of people on its current waitlist, so it’s opening up to more applicants.

The authority expects to add about 2,000 people to the waitlist, according to Aley Thompson, director of rental assistance for THA.

People are randomly selected from a pool of applicants to join and Thompson anticipates having a large pool to choose from.

When the Tacoma Housing Authority opened its wait list in 2019 to households of three or more people, in just two weeks they received nearly 5,000 applications representing almost 20,000 people.

This year, with the waitlist open to households of any size, including individuals, the numbers are expected to be higher.

“It's a good data point for our city and for our county when we open our waitlist because it's like a point in time sort of estimate of what the need actually is,” said Thompson.

Although, the need is likely greater than the number of people who choose to or are able to apply, Thompson said.

Thompson said they understand it can sound discouraging to have to apply just for an opportunity to be randomly selected for housing help sometime in the next two years. But they said it's still worth filling out the five minute application for a chance at getting that critical support.

“One of the hardest things that we do is tell people ‘No, I’m sorry I can’t help you right now because our waitlist isn’t open,” Thompson said. “Being able to open our waitlist is really exciting.”

The waitlist will open for a two week period from Monday, April 3, through Monday, April 17.

Applicants can apply online, in person at THA’s main office at 902 S L Street, the Salishan Family Investment Center at 1724 E 44th Street, or the Bay Terrace apartments at 2550 S G Street, or over the phone at (253) 448-2738.

According to the housing authority website, a family must be considered a low-income family in order to be considered. An applicants’ eligibility is determined after they apply for the waitlist.

The housing authority offers two types of assistance: a housing voucher to help pay rent at an apartment, or an authority-owned apartment unit to rent.

The authority aims to assist people on the waitlist within two years but sometimes it takes longer.

Mayowa Aina covers cost-of-living and affordability issues in Western Washington. She focuses on how people do (or don't) make ends meet, impacts on residents' earning potential and proposed solutions for supporting people living at the margins of our community. Get in touch with her by emailing