College Housing Assistance Program

College Housing Assistance Program: A Summary

College Housing Assistance Program Summary PDF

THA now budgets to house or pay to house nearly 300 homeless enrolled students at Tacoma Community College (TCC) and the University of Washington at Tacoma (UW Tacoma).  This effort is called the THA College Housing Assistance Program (CHAP). It has four main elements:

1.   Provide or finance Housing for Homeless or Near Homeless TCC or UW Tacoma Students:

THA provides or finances housing in three ways:

  • We provide rental assistance to help pay rent on the private rental market;
  • We provide apartments we purchased near campus.
  • We sign long term contracts with private developments near the campuses to reserve apartments for homeless or near homeless college students. We pay down the rents to levels affordable to the students.

The time limited assistance aligns with the time it takes to earn a degree and adds an income building year for participants who earn a postsecondary credential.

CHAP, in partnership with the Washington State Department of Corrections, is developing supports for TCC students who begin their studies while in prison or who come to campus following their release.

TCC Campus

2.   Campus Support

TCC and UW Tacoma provide CHAP students with support and resources. TCC and UW-Tacoma maintain a fund to help CHAP students pay security deposits and rent.

3.   Academic Expectations

CHAP students receiving assistance must be enrolled and make academic progress toward a degree or credential. TCC provides students with “navigators” and “Completion Coaches”.  UW-Tacoma provides case management through its Office of Student Advocacy and Support.

4.   EvaluationUWT Campus

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University is the program’s third-party evaluator. It tracks metrics for assisted and unassisted homeless and near- homeless students who receive tenant-based subsidies. These metrics include grade point average, retention-graduation rates, and post-graduation earnings and use of public services. The Kresge Foundation funds the evaluation.


Harvard’s Kennedy School named CHAP among the nation’s top 25 most innovative governmental initiatives for 2018. (Learn more at


Interested in applying for these programs?

Contact your campus office:

Tacoma Community College 

Micah Tucker
Housing Navigator
(253) 566-5210 

University of Washington, Tacoma

Roseann Martinez
Office of Student Advocacy & Support
(253) 692-5934, MAT 203 


Have questions? Check out the CHAP FAQ page.



CHAP began in 2014 as a pilot program at TCC. TCC has a student population of nearly 14,000 students. It is the largest college in the South Puget Sound Region. In comparison to students of other colleges, their students are older, lower income, more likely to be parents, more likely to be working, and more likely to be their family’s first to attend college. TCC is justifiably proud of the warm welcome it gives them. A TCC degree can transform their lives.

Yet, a notable number of TCC students do not have stable housing. In 2019 Temple University’s Hope Center surveyed TCC students about basic needs. 63% of TCC students responding to the survey reported serious housing insecurity within the 12 months prior to the survey; 23% reported that within those 12 months they experienced homelessness. It is hard to attend college without a stable place to live. The challenges are harder for homeless students who are also parents. Most homeless students drop out. The encouraging results from the pilot program compelled CHAP’s expansion at TCC and, in 2018, to UW-Tacoma.

Education Project
CHAP is part of Tacoma Housing Authority’s Education Project. This project seeks to spend a housing dollar not only to house someone but also to (i) help them and their children succeed in school and (ii) help Tacoma public schools and colleges educate low-income students. When it works it is a very good use of a housing dollar. To learn more about THA and its Education Project go to


THA Contact:
Jess Thompson
Project Manager - Post Secondary Education



Barriers to Success: Housing Insecurity for US College Students [PDF]