College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP)

For students experiencing homelessness.

Program Information

Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) is providing rental assistance for Tacoma Community College (TCC) students who are currently enrolled in 6 or more credits in credited developmental and college level classes and are experiencing homelessness. This rental assistance will help the participant (and their household) by providing a housing subsidy to help pay the rent on an apartment or house.

CURRENT STATUS: CHAP is accepting applications for students who are experiencing homelessness and enrolled in 6 or more credits for the waitlist only. The CHAP waitlist has grown significantly in 2020. Wait times for available housing may exceed 6 months (see “How does the waitlist work” below). We still encourage you to complete the CHAP application to secure an option for placement. Below are additional housing resources in the “What can I do while I am waiting” section that may also be helpful.

If you are expirencing homelessness and have an immediate need for shelter, please call 211 for Pierce County Coordinated Entry.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • enrolled in 6 or more credits at TCC in credited developmental (ABE, ESL, Running Start, Fresh Start) and college level classes
  • are experiencing homelessness (see definitions below)
  • household income is at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) (see chart below)
  • are a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • do not owe money to a public housing authority

How do I apply?

The application is currently closed. Check back to see when the application will open again. For any questions regarding CHAP, please contact Mr. Keith Moore, at CASA/MECA at

If you are not eligible, here are other housing resources:


Definition of homeless: A household that is:

  • In an emergency shelter or in a transitional housing facility or living in a place not suitable for human habitation; or,
  • Is a client of a case-management program serving the homeless; or,
  • Has been discharged or is facing discharge from a public institution (e.g. incarceration, hospital, etc.) without a housing discharge plan; or,
  • Is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, has no other residence, and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing.

Types of housing assistance through CHAP

  • Tenant-based vouchers: Vouchers become available as students exit the program. Speak with program staff to determine availability.
  • Property-based subsidies: Subsidized apartments become available periodically as vacancies occur.

What is the difference between a tenant-based voucher and a property-based subsidy?

  • Tenant-based vouchers allow students to shop on the private housing market and lease an apartment or rental house. The voucher covers a portion of the rent depending on the household size and is paid directly to the landlord. The student is responsible for paying the remainder of the rent, utilities, fees, and other expenses. Students using tenant-based vouchers on average pay $450 for rent. While the tenant-based voucher puts the burden on the student to locate housing, it also means the student can move to a new property and not lose their assistance. A Tenant-based voucher may be used within 2.5 miles of the boundary of the city of Tacoma. See boundary map link.
  • Property-base subsidies refer to units at CHAP partner properties where THA has contracted with the property owners to buy down the rents. When a student is referred placement at one of these properties, the student is placed at a specific subsidized apartment where the rent is discounted. The student is responsible to pay the remainder of the rent, utilities, fees, and other expenses. Unlike tenant-based vouchers, when a student moves out they lose their rental assistance.

How long can I receive rental assistance?

Tenant-Based Vouchers

  • Participants can receive up to five (5) years of rental assistance. If a student graduates with an Associate's (AA) or Bachelor's degree (BA) before they reach the time limit, they may receive up to 1 year of additional assistance (not to exceed five [5] years of total assistance).


  • A participant receives an Associate's degree after receiving 18 months of CHAP assistance. The participant may receive an additional 12 months of assistance. The time limit for the additional 12 months will begin at the time the credits were completed.
  • A participant receives a BA degree after receiving 52 months of CHAP assistance. The participant may receive an additional 8 months of assistance. The additional 8 months will begin at the time the credits were completed.

Property-Based Vouchers

  • Students leasing a unit that has a property-based subsidy sign a year lease. Depending on the property, students are allowed 2 – 3 lease renewals. This means that students may have a total duration of 3 or 4 years depending on the property they are leased at. Leases are renewed annually.

How does the waitlist work?

Waitlists are generated by priority and by order of the date of the application.

  1. Students experiencing homelessness have first priority (see Definitions above)
  2. Students who are at serious risk of homelessness receive the next priority

How long will I be on the waitlist?

Your time on the waitlist depends on a few things. These include,

  • Housing status (experiencing homelessness or are near homeless)
  • Household size: Most subsidized units are studios and 1 bedroom units, larger households may wait longer for 2+ bedroom units to become available or for a voucher to be available allowing you to rent on the private market.
  • Household income: The majority of the subsidized units at Highland Flats, Crosspointe, and Koz at the Dome are set aside for student at or below 30% area median income (AMI). Fewer units are available for students whose income is 40 – 50% AMI. See chart below to determine your AMI.

It may be a long wait once you have been placed on the waitlist. While you are waiting you must do your part to keep us informed of any changes. The only way we can contact you is by using the information you provide. You must notify us in writing of any changes to your mailing address, phone number or other changes in your household. Failure to do so may result in being removed from the waitlist. 

What can I do while I am waiting?

  • If you are currently experiencing homelessness, call 211 to learn about what housing resources you may qualify for immediately.
  • You can consult other places for housing assistance where you can find options for emergency housing, transitional housing, and other resources.
  • TCC students are given priority when units become available at Highland Crest and Outrigger. While these units are not subsidized, they are more affordable than many market rate apartments. This may be appropriate for students whose income is above 30% AMI.
  • If you are a current TCC student, you may be eligible for emergency funds. Apply online
  • Pierce County Human Services provides rental assistance and a list of affordable housing resources for Tacoma:
  • The Collegiate Homesharing Program (CHS) offers Tacoma residents the opportunity to help local college students obtain affordable housing by utilizing that ‘spare room’ in their home. This program offers housemate matches based on lifestyles and personalities. Read this flyer for additional resources

What information will I need to provide when I am referred to an available apartment or to THA for a voucher?

Lease Application:

  • A copy of your financial aid award letter or summary print-out
  • Valid picture identification for all adults aged 18 and older
  • Social Security cards for everyone in the household
  • Birth certificates for minors
  • Income documentation, such as pay stubs or award letters
  • Documentation of immigration status (if applicable) such as a permanent residency card

THA Application:


  • Adults: Copies of Photo ID and Social Security Cards
  • Children: Copies of Social Security Card and Birth Certificate
  • Alien Registration/Permanent Resident Card only

Income Verification:

  • Social Security/SSI Income: Award Letter
  • Financial Aid Award Letter
  • Employment: Paystubs – most recent 3 months and employer’s fax number
  • Child Support: Payment history print out
  • Unemployment: Paystubs – most recent 3 months
  • TANF, GAU, or VA: Statements – award letters
  • Pension, retirement, or other statements – most recent 3 months or award letter
  • Self-Employment: Last filed income tax with profit and loss statement
  • Tuition Costs/Financial Aid Award Letter
  • All other sources of income

Income Limits

Most PBS apartments in CHAP program are subsidized for households at or below the 30% Area Median Income (AMI) tier. To determine your AMI tier, first: identify the column with the number of people in your household; second: in that column determine which AMI row your annual household income is at or below.

*Koz apartments does offer some apartments at the 40% AMI.
*Students offered a tenant-based voucher must be at or below 50% AMI.


1 person

2 person

3 person

4 person

5 person

6 person

7 person

8 person

30% AMI









40% AMI









50% AMI









PBS Rent Amounts

As of April 2020

Bedroom Count

Income Tier

Monthly Rent Amount


30% AMI


40 % AMI


1 bedroom

30% AMI




2 bedroom

30% AMI


40% AMI


Any Other Questions?

Contact us for information