Looking for affordable housing can be complicated and confusing (not to mention exhausting).
Here’s three different ways to find places to apply for: Easy, Medium and Hard.
You can decide how badly you want housing, how quickly you want housing, and how many spoons you have to give. Pick the way that works for you!
Option One: The Easy Way
🌷 Call your local Housing Authority and ask if they are accepting applications for any of their wait lists. Or you can check their website. Find Your Housing Authority
🌷 There is a 5% chance you will get into good housing in a reasonable time period this way, and a 95% chance you will be disappointed. On to option two….
Option Two: The Medium Way
🌷 You don’t need to go through a Housing Authority to get nice affordable housing. Many of our readers had their best success by applying directly to buildings instead.
🌷 You also don’t need a voucher to get super cheap housing. Many buildings come with their own funding. You can apply even if your income is $0! However, you may need to pay a security deposit.
🌷 Watch out! There are lots of scam sites out there that will try to charge you money to “help” you apply for housing. All the links on this page are to government websites or other legitimate housing sources. (Warning: A few websites below have ads on them. The ads may lead to places that charge a fee. Be careful not to click on any ads, and you will be OK.)
🌷 Don’t rely on centralized waiting lists. Especially in Massachusetts. You may be waiting 5-10 years on those lists.
🌷 A lot easier to use than the HUD map, but you may not be shown as many options: Affordable Housing Online (Warning: Search feature does not work well in all areas).
🌷 If you live in a rural area (or want to) check the USDA apartment search. Tip: If you want to look in surrounding areas, try typing in just the first three digits in your ZIP Code.
🌷 Make sure to ask the rent. Some places are cheap (if your income is $0, your rent is $0). Other places call themselves “low income” but they are so expensive actual low income people can’t live there! Learn more: Help! I’m Too Poor for Low Income Housing.
🌷 If your household income is below $1500 per month, you can save yourself some time and energy by only focusing on only the very cheapest subsidized housing openings: How to Find Super Cheap Housing WITHOUT a Housing Voucher
🌷 Here’s a Sample Email for Writing Buildings
🌷 And here’s a Script for Calling Buildings
If you find a place you like this way, great! If not, on to option three.
Option Three: The Way for Relentless Troublemakers
Option three is advanced-level for people who are relentless in their pursuit of housing and willing to do whatever it takes. Or for people who are desperate in their need for housing and willing to do whatever it takes. Or for people who just like having a lot of options.
🌷 Here’s where you can find 37 Creative Strategies for Getting Section 8
🌷 And here a long (long!) list of many more Places You Can Call to Find Affordable Housing
🌷 Plus some ideas for How Can I Get Emergency or Immediate Housing?
🌷 There is no limit to how many places you can apply for. You can look in other counties, or even other states. The wider your range, the more options you have.How to Apply for Affordable Housing in Another State
🌷 If you decide to apply in other areas, here’s some tips you need to know. There’s a chance you might not even have to move to the other area! Finding Housing Quickly By Applying Elsewhere
🌷 If you are having difficulty qualifying due to background checks, and these issues were created by your disabilities, in some situations, you can request an accommodation: Background Checks and Credit Checks
Tips & Tricks
🌷 Some places will allow you to apply online or long distance. Some will require you to go in person. If you or someone in your household is disabled, and this makes it too difficult for you to apply in person, you can request a Disability Accommodation to Apply by Mail or Email
If possible, try applying in other areas. Usually you will have to move to this other area for at least 12 months, but sometimes people have gotten around this rule. Other times, people have found that it was worth the move for nice housing.
🌷 If you get told no, don’t give up. Be like Dandelion. She was told all waiting lists were closed. Guess what happened? Dandelion Finds 30 Open Waiting Lists
Tools for Troublemakers
Thanks for Reading
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