HOP Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Answer
1. 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 or people with disabilities have no time limit.

2. What is the purpose of the five-year time limit for people who can work?

The time limit serves two purposes. It gives people an incentive to increase their income. THA will offer them services to help them do that. Second, a time limit recognizes that tens of thousands of other people also need help. Unfortunately, THA cannot serve everyone who needs help. A time limit will give other people a turn. THA recognizes that a time limit also means that people may lose their assistance even if they still need it for longer. THA will grant limited extensions on the time limit in case of serious hardship.

3. 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’s 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’s income goes down, its share of the rent would not go down.  The household would have to make up the difference. This serves four 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 does not require THA to be so nosey into the business of households.  It makes the program less expensive to administer.

4. Why doesn’t THA offer Section 8 anymore?

In the HOP program, THA has reduced the amount everyone gets. This has allowed us to manage budget cuts without removing anyone from the program or without reducing other services. We call this "thinning the soup," which is what a family might do so it does not have to remove plates from the dinner table.

5. I’m a senior and/or person with a disability. Do these rules apply to me?

As a senior and/or person with a disability, your voucher will not have any time limits.  However, you will receive the same fixed subsidy as other recipients.

* 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.

6. 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.

7. What’s the difference between HOP and Public Housing?

Public Housing is housing 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. You choose which of our Public Housing properties to apply for. If you move from Public Housing, your housing subsidy does not go with you.

HOP is a fixed-subsidy program that ends after five years (for work-able households). With HOP, you can move and your subsidy would go with you to help you pay the rent on your next home.

8. Are you accepting Public Housing applications?


The Tacoma Housing Authority is going through a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion. This changes the funding we receive for our public housing properties. Instead, they will be funded through a project-based voucher program. Once that is effective, the Tacoma Housing Authority will only open its wait lists when we expect an applicant to be housed within two years of applying.

Click here if you would like to be notified when any of THA’s wait lists open.

9. I want to apply to the HOP wait list. What should I do? About every two years, THA opens its wait list for the HOP applicants. Notification will take place in print and electronic news sources and will be about 60 days prior to the application period. During this time, go to www.tacomahousing.net and click the application link on the front page. 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.


10. If I apply, does that mean I get on the waiting list?

No. We expect nearly 10,000 applications during the 10-day application period.  When the application period ends, THA will remove duplicate and incomplete applications. Then we will randomly choose 1,200 names from the completed applications. We will put those 1,200 names on our waiting list.

11. If I get on the wait list, where on the wait list will I end up? How long will I have to wait to get to the top of the wait list?

Once we randomly select the 1,200 names for the waitlist we will then randomly rank them.  A person ending up at the bottom of that list will probably wait two years or more before he or she gets to the top of the list.

12. If I get on the wait list 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, THA will check to make sure you are eligible under the program rules.  For more information about those rules, go to THA’s web site at www.tacomahousing.net.

13. I’m already on the wait list. Do I need to apply again?

If you are already on the HOP waitlist, then you do not need to reapply. To make sure you are on the list, you should check our web site here.

14. If I do not get on the wait list, 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 are able to apply for THA’s public housing.  You can do that on our web site.  Although the wait may be 2 to 7 years depending on your family size.
  • You can get information at Pierce County Community Services about other places in Pierce County that might be helpful. 
  • You can apply again the next time THA opens up the HOP wait list.  That will probably be in another two or three years.
15. 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 up to two years before you will get housing. If you are homeless now in Pierce County, your best option is to call Access Point 4 Housing (AP4H) at (253) 682-3401 or go to the website http://www.associatedministries.org/ap4h/. You also can call 2-1-1 for referrals to other community resources.

16. 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.

17. Will I improve my chances of being selected if I apply multiple times? No, THA will only count your first application.
18. 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 will not count with THA. THA does not charge to apply. The only website that works to apply is www.tacomahousing.net. If another website is trying to get your information to apply, please report it to THA immediately.

19. I do not own a computer and/or I need help with the online application process. How do I get help?

THA 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. See below.

20. 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.
21. Do I have to live in Tacoma if I receive a HOP voucher? What are the boundaries?  You must live within 2.5 miles of the boundary of Tacoma. View our boundary map.