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Know Your Rights » During Your Tenancy » Utilities

Utilities in Section 8 Housing

Section 8 voucher holders have some special considerations regarding utility calculation and usage. Section 8 vouchers factor in a certain amount to cover utility costs in your unit. Utility allowances are calculated using a complicated system that factors in your household size, the type of utilities and the type of unit you live in. Unfortunately, not all units are well insulated enough to keep utility costs down to the housing authority estimated calculations. The Section 8 program does not have funding set aside to supplement higher than anticipated utility costs, but you can apply for utility assistance to help with high bills. Some utility companies offer financial assistance and some offer free weatherization for units occupied by low income families. Your landlord may be willing to work with you to bring utility costs down by taking advantage of these programs, which are often free. Seattle’s weatherization program is called HomeWise, and the King County Housing Authority has a Housing Repair and Weatherization program for low income renters and homeowners. There are some utility assistance programs that may be able to help with energy costs. For energy assistance, see Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or call the Community Information Line at 206-461-3200 or 800-621-4636 or 2-1-1 from a landline.