Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV)

The Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher program, commonly referred to as Section 8, provides low-income community members with an opportunity to access affordable housing in the private market.  Participants in the HCV program are responsible for locating suitable housing that is affordable through a combination of rent paid by the tenant, and subsidy paid by the housing authority on behalf of the tenant.  Payment Standards apply, and units must meet HUD’s basic Housing Quality Standards (HQS).  

The Bellingham Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher waiting list is currently closed

Project-Based Housing Choice Voucher (PBV)

The Project-Based Housing Choice Voucher program is similar to the Tenant-Based Housing Choice Voucher program except the subsidy is attached to a specific unit, rather than the tenant household.  After completing an initial 12-month lease period, tenants in a PBV unit may have an opportunity to move with continued assistance through the HCV program.

For the PBV program, BHA determines initial subsidy eligibility and the property owners/agents assess eligibility for tenancy.  Information on Project-Based Voucher waiting lists and estimated wait times can be found here or by visiting the BHA office.
Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS (HOPWA)

The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program provides funding for a variety of activities including Tenant-Based Rental Assistance; Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Assistance; Facility-Based Assistance; and Support Services.  The Bellingham Housing Authority partners with Sean Humphrey House and Lifelong AIDS Alliance who provide direct services or referrals for all HOPWA activities.    

Eligible beneficiaries include Low-income families (80% percent AMI or below) in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, and Island counties with a household member who is medically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  
Shelter Plus Care (SPC)

The Shelter Plus Care program offers community members experiencing homelessness an opportunity for stable and permanent affordable housing with individualized support services. The Bellingham Housing Authority partners with Lake Whatcom Treatment Center, Archdiocesan Housing Authority, Pioneer Human Services and the Opportunity Council, who each serve as Sponsor Agencies.  As a Sponsor Agency, these organizations own or master-lease units that are occupied by participants, and also coordinate individualized supportive services through a low-barrier housing first approach. 

Eligible participants for Shelter Plus Care include disabled families who are experiencing homelessness and have significant mental health challenges.  A preference is given to households who meet HUD’s definition of chronically homeless, and all referrals come from the Whatcom Homeless Service Center’s Housing Interest Pool.  

HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)

The HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance with clinical support and case management provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  The Bellingham Housing Authority administers both Tenant-Based and Project-Based HUD-VASH.   

Eligible participants for HUD-VASH include Veterans experiencing homelessness who would benefit from case management support.  Veterans must be eligible to receive services through the VA, and all referrals are provided by the Whatcom Homeless Service Center’s Housing Interest Pool.