Savings Match Program
The Savings Match Program is intended to assist households who are ready to leave subsidized housing, either to rent in the private market or to purchase a home. The program will match the money you save and will provide helpful information about managing your finances, finding an apartment or buying a home.
Seattle Housing is pleased to offer this program which helps households become more self-sufficient and frees up units and vouchers that we can use to serve lower-income households on the waiting list.
Households living in Seattle Housing Authority public housing or households enrolled in our tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program are eligible to participate in the Savings Match program.
To participate, an adult in your household must have income from employment and your household must earn at least the equivalent of full-time minimum wage. To qualify for the cash match of your savings, your entire household must be ready to leave public housing or release your voucher to a household on the waiting list.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to qualify for class match?
- Complete SHA’s Ready to Rent class, which provides information about budgeting, credit, money management, and your rights and responsibilities as a renter in the private market. Contact Corinne McKisson at 206-239-1619 to sign up. If you’re interested in home ownership rather than renting, contact 206 588-4324 to learn more about an equivalent class for homebuyers. When you request the cash match you will need to present your certificate of completion for the Ready to Rent or approved homeownership classes.
- Save money in your own account at the bank or credit union of your choice. When you’re ready to request the cash match, SHA will review the last six months of your bank statements and provide you with the average amount as a cash match. (Ready to Rent classes will cover how to open a bank account if you don’t have one already.)
- Maintain or increase your current employment and income. To continue to be eligible for the cash match, your household must earn at least the equivalent of full-time minimum wage and at least one member of your household must have six months of steady employment at the time you request the cash match.
- Get a free copy of your credit history. (Ready to Rent classes will teach you how to do this if you need help.) When you request the cash match you must present a copy of your credit history or credit report and you cannot have more than $1,000 in past due debt in order to qualify for the cash match.
- Prepare to leave subsidized housing. For public housing or HOPE VI households, this can mean renting a unit in the private market or buying a house. For voucher households, leaving subsidy may mean relinquishing your voucher and moving to a new place, buying a house, or staying in your current unit and relinquishing your voucher.
- To qualify for the cash match, your whole household must move out of your public housing unit or relinquish your voucher so that we can serve a lower-income household on the waiting list. Households that are able to leave subsidy within one year of program enrollment will qualify for a match of savings up to $4,000. The maximum cash match is $3,000 for households leaving subsidy within two years, and $2,000 for households leaving subsidy within three years. After three years, you will no longer be eligible for the cash match.
- Leave Seattle Housing Authority in good standing. You must leave in good standing in order to qualify for the cash match – in other words, without money owed to Seattle Housing or damage to your unit.
What if an emergency comes up and I need the money that I've been saving?
You'll save the money in your own bank account and that money will always remain your own to use or save as you see fit.
Is there a deadline?
To qualify for the savings match, you must leave subsidized housing within three years. You will be eligible for a higher cash match if you are able to leave more quickly.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount that I can save?
You can save as little or as much money as you like. Seattle Housing will match any amount up to a maximum of $4,000 if you are ready to leave subsidized housing within one year, $3,000 within two years, or $2,000 within three years.
Can I enroll in the Savings Match program if I am already enrolled in the Family Self-Sufficiency program?
No. Each eligible household can only be enrolled in one of these two programs at a time.
What happens if I change my mind about participating in the program or can't move out for some reason?
The only thing that will occur if you drop out of the program is you will not receive a cash match from Seattle Housing. You will not be forced to move out of public housing or give up your voucher because of this program.
What if I move out and things don't go well?
Seattle Housing is also encouraging participants to sign up for the Safety Net program, which will give you first priority to return to a public housing unit if you run into an unexpected crisis in the first year after leaving.
Why is Seattle Housing Authority offering this program?
We have two goals for the Savings Match Program: helping households who want to move out of subsidized housing and freeing up resources to serve lower-income households on the waiting list.
How do I sign up?
Fill out the self-assessment form to see if you are eligible. Please submit this form to the Savings Match Program at 6400 Sylvan Way SW, Seattle, WA 98126. We will follow up with you to confirm your eligibility and provide you with more information about the program's requirements.
If you have questions, please contact us at SavingsMatch@seattlehousing.org or (206) 588-4324.
Other resources that may be helpful
While optional, we highly recommend that you sign up for the Safety Net Assistance Program (SNAP). This program provides a safety net in case you experience an unexpected crisis within the first year after you move out of subsidized housing and will provide you with first priority for a public housing unit. A pro-rated repayment agreement for a portion of the cash match may apply for households using SNAP to return to subsidized housing. To apply, you must call 206 588-4324 to schedule an appointment with an Economic Opportunities Specialist.
Economic Opportunity specialists can provide you with more information about budgeting, locating resources in a new neighborhood, or planning for a move. You can contact 206 588-4324 to set up an appointment.