The Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program ensures that an individual’s temporary disability doesn’t force him or her onto the streets. The HEN program provides rent assistance and access to some of life’s most basic needs like household and sanitary items, monthly ORCA cards and even gas vouchers – vital items that cannot be purchased with food stamps.

History of the program

The HEN program started November of 2011 replacing a three decade old program: Disability Lifeline. Unlike Disability Lifeline, the HEN program does not provide direct cash assistance, but does support housing as well as provide household needs an individual would not be able to purchase with food stamps.

Do I qualify?

In order to be eligible for the program, individuals need to go to DSHS and have them determine the basic HEN eligibility. Acceptance is not guaranteed to applicants. Funds are limited and therefore not everyone that applies will get into the program.

The basic eligibility requirements for the HEN program are: that any individual must already receive benefits through DSHS Medical Care Services (MCS) and must not have any income, including cash from a job, social security, workers comp, L&I, child support or cash from DSHS. Once DSHS has determined the basic HEN eligibility, the client is able to take full advantage of Housing and Essential Needs.

Learn more about rental assistance

Learn more about essential needs