The HUD map is the best, most comprehensive, and most accurate listing of affordable housing online. We wish this was not true, because the HUD map is a royal pain and hard to use!
However, if you are willing to be a bit patient and persistent, you will find better information here than anywhere else online.
Here’s some top secret, special tricks we learned the hard way (so you don’t have to!)
Where to Find The HUD Map
If The HUD Map Irritates or Confuses You
🌷 Try the special secret trick for turning the map into a printable list.
If the HUD Map Becomes Completely Unbearable
🌷 Give up on the HUD map and try Affordable Housing Online Directory
🌷 Warning: Fantastic website, but search feature is wonky. May not show all options.
🌷 They also have a cool list: Affordable Housing Email Alerts.
🌷 Warning: Fantastic email list, but not all openings are listed. We’ve found they post about 50% of openings.
If You Are Rural
🌷 If you live in a rural or remote area, and there is not a lot in your area, click the “+” or “-” signs to see neighboring towns and counties.
If You Live in a City
🌷 If you live in a big city, you may find the map overwhelming because there are too many options.
🌷 Try this: Do not click on “find affordable housing”. Instead, clicking on “find elderly and special needs housing.” This will show you a smaller selection of places that are more likely to be nicer and have open waiting lists.
🌷 Or try this: Zoom in on the map at just one section of the city at a time. Then try the special secret trick for making a printable list for that area. Then repeat in the next area.
If You Are a Disabled Adult
🌷 Make sure to call all housing opportunities marked “elderly” or “senior”. Ask them if they will accept younger people with disabilities. Some will say yes.
🌷 For these properties, at least one adult in the family must be disabled. Some do not accept children.
🌷 Many readers report that this is the easiest way to find nice housing with shorter wait lists. Learn more about: How to Find Yourself a Nice, Affordable HUD Apartment (for People with Disabilities)
If You Already Have a Voucher
🌷 Look at the PURPLE circles. These are buildings called “low income tax credit.” They have to accept vouchers. Many have wait lists.
🌷 If you are rural, also look for dark green circles. Many of these accept vouchers, but not all. Call and ask.
If You Do NOT Have a Housing Voucher
🌷 If you are very low income, look for all the ORANGE circles. These buildings have at least some subsidized apartments where rent can be very low, but they may not tell you this! When you call, no matter what rent they tell you, always ask: “Do you have any apartments where rent is set at 30% of income?”
🌷 Next look at the GREEN circles. These are properties in rural areas. Some of them have subsidized apartments and some don’t but again they may not tell you! Once again, always ask: “Do you have any apartments where rent is set at 30% of income?”
🌷 If you are somewhat low income, but not very low, also look at the PURPLE circles. These properties may be someone discounted (but not as cheap as the orange ones!) They may have income minimums. For example, a single person may need to have income of at least $1,000 per month to be eligible to apply.
🌷 Finally, look for the YELLOW circles. These are housing authorities where you can get on waiting lists for vouchers, or for public housing buildings.
What’s On the Map
If you are using the HUD map, and you select “Find affordable special needs housing.” You will be shown a selection of elderly or disabled buildings with very affordable rent. If you select “Find affordable housing housing opportunities” or “ALL resources” and you will be shown a mix of different options:
- Elderly or disability HUD apartments – These are very affordable and sometimes quite nice.
- Multifamily HUD apartments – These are a mix. Some are very affordable, some are lower than market rate, but still require income. Quality of housing varies.
- Low Income Tax Credit apartments – These are private buildings where landlords got a tax discount in exchange for offering apartments at a lower rate. Despite the name, some of them are not for actual low income. They all accept Housing Vouchers.
- Group Homes – These are houses where people with disabilities live together and some care may be provided. They are often geared towards mental health or developmental disabilities.
- Housing Agencies – These are local resources where you can call or visit their website to ask what other housing programs they have available.
Be Persistent. Very Persistent.
- Section 8 Guide for the Plucky and Disabled
- How To Get in Section 8 Housing (Even When the Waiting Lists Are Closed!)
- Dandelion Gets Nice, Affordable Housing QUICKLY
- Questions You Can Ask When Calling
- Script for Calling Affordable Housing Buildings
- Sample Email for Writing Affordable Housing Buildings
What Do You Think?
Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.
Updated January 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: