Frequently Asked Questions
We've combined a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you better understand the program, and resources to assist you if you have questions. If you still have questions, please contact the program administrator.
What is the purpose of the homeless service workers stipend program?
The stipend is intended to help provide economic relief to homeless service workers who work in an industry that is struggling with staffing shortages and worker retention.
What is an ‘eligible entity’ (organization)?
The authorizing legislation for this program defines "eligible entity" as an organization that state agencies or local governments grant or subcontract to provide homeless services under their homeless housing program as defined in RCW 43.185C.010. The list of eligible entities for this program is from the annual homeless housing project inventory completed by local governments and submitted to the Washington State legislature via the Dept. of Commerce.
List of eligible organizations (updated 3/16/2023)
If you believe an eligible organization is missing from this list, please contact the program administrator.
Who are homeless service workers?
Full-time, part-time employees or independent contractors working directly on-site with persons experiencing homelessness or residents of transitional or permanent supportive housing.
Who is eligible to receive the stipend?
An eligible homeless service worker must meet all of the following criteria:
- You are currently employed at an ‘eligible entity’, or eligible organization
- You are a homeless service worker employee living in Washington State
- You have an immediate economic need (you can self-attest to this)
- Your income is at or below 80 % of your area median income
- You work full-time or part-time directly on-site with persons experiencing homelessness or residents of transitional or permanent supportive housing.
- Please note: Applicants do not need to be 18 years of age or older.
I have not applied yet. What is the last day to apply for Stipend #1?
The last day to submit application for Stipend #1 is June 2, 2023.
I was approved for Stipend #1 in 2022. When does the application open for Stipend #2?
Applicants awarded Stipend #1 on or before December 22, 2022, will be sent instructions viatheir registered email to apply for Stipend #2 approximately five months after their award date.
Where do I go to log into my account and update my FORWARD profile and/or upload my new documents?
1. Log into your FORWARD account, go to ABOUT
Check/update my address (if needed) and my INCOME information (required). In the DOCUMENTS section uploaded your pay stub for THE SAME eligible entity as Stipend
- Wait for the email to tell you that your application is active to apply in the portal. When you log into the FORWARD portal and click on MY APPLICATION, you will see if you are eligible to apply for Stipend #2 if the STATUS is “Eligible for Next Application."
- Click on PROGRAMS and you will see the INVITATION ONLY Stipend #2 application. Complete the application and SUBMIT it. Make sure you have uploaded your pay stub (required) and corrected W 9/ID (if needed, optional)
How do I know when I was approved for Stipend #1?
You received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org on the date you were approved. The email you receive to notify you to apply for Stipend #2 will contain your approval date in red. As well as the date you can expect to be approved for Stipend #2. You can also check the approval date of your application by emailing email@example.com
If I needed to take medical leave since approval of the first stipend, am I still eligible for the second?
Please apply and provide one paystub issued in the 90 days before your application date. FORWARD will contact you if there are any questions or additional information needed to process your application.
Why do I have to enter my income if I am uploading my pay stub?
You are responsible for reporting TOTAL INDIVIDUAL INCOME in the income section of your application. You also need to upload your pay stub to show the eligible entity you are employed with for verification and income calculations.
What if I am on maternity leave and do not have a paystub during those 90 days but still work for the same employer?
Please apply and provide a letter from your employer, on company letterhead, stating why you do not have a paystub during those 90 days. FORWARD will contact you if there are any questions or additional information needed to process your application.
I was approved for Stipend #1 after December 22, 2022, will I be eligible for Stipend #2?
Applicants approved for Stipend #1 after December 22, 2022 ARE NOT eligible for Stipend #2.
What if my address changed after I got my check for Stipend #1?
Log into your FORWARD account and update the address in both the CONTACT tab and the MAILING ADDRESS section.
If I was denied for Stipend #1, can I apply again?
No, the program is limited to a single application “snapshot” in time. You can decide when during the program you want to apply. There is an established appeal process if you feel that you were denied incorrectly however, you may not submit a new application/reapply.
Is there a requirement for how long I have worked for my employer when I apply to Stipend #1?
No, if you work in a qualifying role at an eligible entity, you may apply on the first day of employment and anytime thereafter.
Can I update my profile/add docs that have changed before I receive the link to apply for Stipend #2?
Yes, you can update your details and your documents anytime but make sure the paystub is within 90 days of the date you got the link.
I got married/divorced but the name I go by didn’t change, do I need to update my FORWARD profile?
Your ID in the FORWARD platform must match your pay stub and your Social Security number when we validate with the IRS system.
Our organization changed names but the roles are the same. How would I go about discussing the eligibility of all the employees so that they can communicate our organizational change?
Provide each employee with a letter that they can upload to the FORWARD platform with their pay stubs to clarify the change. FORWARD will contact you if there are any questions or additional information needed to process your application.
What if my employer is also providing a retention stipend?
Receiving an additional employer based stipend does not affect your eligibility for the Homeless Service Worker Stipend. Your TOTAL INDIVIDUAL INCOME must still be below 80% AMI to be eligible.
When does my Stipend #2 application needs to be approved by?
Applications for the second stipend payment must be approved no later than June 9, 2023.
I was approved for Stipend #1. What is the last day to apply for Stipend #2?
The last day to submit application for Stipend #2 is June 2, 2023.
What documentation is required to apply for the stipend?
1. Recent Pay Stub from Eligible Organization
Pay stub must have been issued within the last 90 days of application submission
2. A completed W-9 form.*
3. Copy of photo ID to verify identity. Examples of eligible forms of ID include the following:*
- Valid Driver’s License*
- Birth Certificate*
- State-issued Identification Card*
- Student Identification Card*
- Military Identification Card*
- Passport or Passport Card*
Note: No documents are required to demonstrate economic need or to affirm you are a homeless service worker. These requirements will be achieved through self-attestation.
Why do you need my W-9?
We need your personal W-9 in order to pay you!
Because this stipend is considered taxable income, you will get a 1099 at the end of the year from us that you will use for tax reporting purposes. PLEASE FILL OUT THE W-9 AS YOURSELF, NOT YOUR EMPLOYER. An improperly filled W-9 will delay your application approval.
What happens if I submit my application, but my W-9 is filled out incorrectly?
If your W-9 was filled out incorrectly, it will need to be amended.
In that case, our staff may call you from a number you do not recognize. We will never ask you for private information, only how to properly re-submit your W-9. Please keep an eye out for this phone call. Please sign, date, and upload the completed form into the Forward application platform
What is area median income?
- The Area Median Income (AMI) describes the midpoint of an area's income distribution, where 50 percent of households earn above the median figure while 50 percent earn less than the median.
- AMI will be calculated on the individual applicant’s gross income (income before any taxes or other deductions). Applicants should attest their personal income only, not household income. The shift in eligibility aligns with the legislation which requires the program to only consider individual income.
- The 80% AMI threshold is relative to the applicant's county of employment or the applicant's county of residence
Is the 80% AMI threshold relative to state or county?
The 80% AMI threshold is relative to the applicant's county of employment or the applicant's county of residence.
How do I calculate my area median income?
The program administrator will calculate the AMI relative to the applicant's county of employment and the applicant's county of residence. If one or both are within the 80% threshold, the applicant is eligible.
If you would like to verify your AMI on your own, follow these steps.
- First, add all your individual gross income (income before any taxes or other deductions) and check the AMI for your county of residence and county of employment.
- You can check your AMI for a household of 1 person using the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) website.
What qualifies as an immediate economic need?
Immediate economic need includes, but is not limited to needing help paying for:
- rent or mortgage payments;
- utilities and other household bills;
- medical expenses; student loan payments;
- transportation related costs;
- child care-related costs;
- behavioral health-related costs;
- other basic necessities.
How do I prove I have an economic need?
- You can self-attest to having an “immediate economic need”.
- When you self-attest to having one or more of the immediate economic needs listed (and meets all other screening and eligibility criteria), you are eligible for a stipend payment of up to $2,000.
What positions are included that work with those experiencing homelessness or residents of transitional or permanent supportive housing?
This includes, but is not limited to;
- Emergency shelter and transitional housing staff;
- Street outreach workers;
- Peer advisors;
- Reception and administrative support staff;
- Maintenance and custodial staff; and
- Individuals providing direct services for homeless youth and young adults.
Executive and senior administrative employees do not qualify for this stipend.
I work for multiple organizations. Can I apply under all?
An eligible homeless service worker who works for two or more eligible organizations may only receive a stipend for working at one organization.
When does the application open?
Applications for an initial stipend payment open September 29, 2022. Applicants receiving an initial stipend payment are eligible to apply for a second stipend six months after being approved for the first one. All payments will be received no later than June 30, 2023.
Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
How do I apply?
Click Apply Now to begin your application.
Is there an online and paper application?
No. Currently, you can only apply online.
My application was approved. When will I receive my stipend?
Once your application is approved, you can expect payment within 2-4 weeks.
Can I apply on a mobile phone?
Yes, when the online application is available, you will be able to use your phone’s browser to submit an application. Please note you will need to upload documents as a part of your application, so those documents should be readily available on your phone.
Who administers the applications?
LiveStories, a U.S. company, created FORWARD to simplify the management of assistance programs. With FORWARD, local governments and non-profits can connect households and businesses to resources, collect applications, process payments, and drive equity. Contact the program administrator.
Who do I contact if I have questions about the application and the process?
Visit the Contact page to reach the Program administrator.
How long does it take to get approved?
The approval process can take up to 60 days from the time of application.
How will I learn if I my application was approved?
You will receive an automatic email message from the program administrator at the time of approval. You can also contact the program administrator to learn about the status of your application.
I was approved. When can I expect my stipend payment?
Once your application is approved, you can expect payment within 2-4 weeks.
When can I apply for the second stipend?
- Eligible applicants are qualified for a second stipend payment if they are still working for the same eligible organization, working in an eligible position, six months after approval of the first stipend payment.
- Eligible applicants can submit their application for the second stipend six months after approval of the first stipend payment.
- There is a tight timeline to fit both payment windows in six months apart and all payment must be distributed by June 23, 2022. For instance, if you were approved for your first stipend payment on October 1, 2022, you would be eligible to apply for your second stipend payment on April 1, 2023.
- Applicants are ineligible to receive a second stipend if they did not apply for, and were approved of, an initial stipend payment on or before December 9, 2022.
Will workers hired between the first and second stipend be eligible to apply?
Yes, workers hired between the first and second stipend are eligible to apply. These workers will only be eligible for one, $2,000 stipend payment (assuming there are hired when there is no longer sufficient time for six months to pass between the first and second stipend payments).
My employment or contract arrangement starts on January 1, 2023. Can I still apply?
Yes, you can apply for one stipend up to $2,000.
Is there a required minimum work history at a particular agency, or are you eligible even if you’ve only worked for one day at an eligible agency?
Recipients must be currently working for the eligible organization, and no minimum number of days served is required.
Do I have to be a full-time employee to be eligible?
No. Full-time, part-time employees and homeless service workers that work as independent contractors are eligible, as long as they work directly on-site with persons experiencing homelessness or residents of transitional or permanent supportive housing are eligible. This does not include executive and senior administrative employees of an eligible organization.
Is part-time considered a 20-hour week?
No, there are no restrictions on the minimum hours needed to be eligible as a part-time worker.
How do I create my account in Forward?
Creating an account to apply for the stipend program is easy. To learn how, watch the following video from Live Stories. If you are not able to watch the video, contact support.
If you have more questions on how to use the FORWARD platform, take a look at additional video tutorials.
I was not approved for a stipend. Can I appeal the decision?
If an application was denied, written notice of the denial will be provided to the applicant. Applicants denied have the right to file a grievance if they disagree with the program administrator’s (LiveStories) decision. The Grievance Procedure will be included in the written notice for denial.
Are taxes deducted from the stipend payment?
No, you are responsible for paying any and all taxes associated with your stipend. You will receive an IRS Form 1099 from the program administrator to file with your annual federal personal income tax for 2022 and/or 2023 (depending on when you receive stipend payments).
To prevent disruption of income-based social services, please consult with your service provider(s) to ensure this stipend will not affect your benefits eligibility. (For example, if you are a recipient of SNAP benefits, please check with DSHS on the impact of this additional income on your food and/or cash benefits eligibility.)
Please use this tax bracket calculator to determine your tax liability.
I received my approval notice and IRS 1099, but it is from GEOCKO, INC. Is this correct?
Yes, Geocko, Inc. is the parent company of FORWARD.
If you were awarded a stipend payment in 2022, an IRS tax form 1099 reporting that payment has been mailed and/or emailed to you from GEOCKO, INC. The email will come from a service called Track1099 1099 & W-2.
Will this program collect demographic data?
Anonymous demographic data will be collected for applicants receiving a stipend payment over $1,000. This data includes recipient age, gender, length of time at the current agency, salary/wage, educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and geographic location.
How do I know my information is secure?
There is a dedicated support team ready to help you with any quesitons you may have.Contact Us