Looking for Housing?
Steps to Find Affordable Housing
by Kiki Poe, Membership & Operations Director, EBHO
It can be difficult to find an affordable home, but knowing your options will increase your chances. Contact the organizations in this guidebook or call 2-1-1 for help.
Step 1. Learn about different kinds of affordable housing
Non-profit affordable housing developments offer well-designed and professionally-managed homes with restricted rents and varying eligibility requirements. Call the organizations listed in this guide and visit their websites.
The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) closes the gap between rent and your income. Contact your local public housing authority for guidance.
Affordable Homeownership and Other Options
Contact the organizations listed below about homebuyer assistance and education programs. Consider Community Land Trusts and co-housing as options. Struggling with mortgage payments? See the financial and foreclosure counseling resources in this brochure.
Tenants’ Rights and other Housing Assistance
If you need help with a security deposit, rent, emergency housing or shelter, or tenant/landlord issues, contact the “housing, shelter and emergency resources” organizations listed here.
Step 2. Get your finances and credit ready
Obtain your credit report early, and be prepared to tell prospective landlords about any problems and the steps you’ve taken to address them. They may accept a low credit rating with good references, proof of employment, a higher security deposit, or a co-signer. For help, contact a credit-counseling agency.
Income and Budgeting
Your housing should cost no more than one-third of your income. Some agencies can help you create a financial and savings plan so you can afford transportation, childcare, health care and other expenses along with rent or mortgage payments.
Step 3. Check to see if your income qualifies
Find out if you qualify for affordable housing by inquiring with a specific property or non-profit developer. If you have a Section 8 voucher, ask if the property will accept it, or contact your housing authority for a list of landlords who will.
Step 4. Identify your housing needs and preferences
Think about location and amenities, but also be flexible and consider several cities and types of housing to increase your chances. Non-profit housing often targets certain populations: seniors, special needs, family or transitional/supportive. You may have trouble qualifying if you’re undocumented or if you have a certain type of criminal record. Most EBHO members strive to serve undocumented and formerly incarcerated people when possible.
Step 5. Contact non-profit housing organizations and apply
- Check the websites of non-profit developers often or call to get current information and applications. Follow directions to ensure success.
- Search through 2-1-1, www.achousingchoices.org to find openings.
- For properties with openings, visit the website or call to request an application or to be added to the waitlist. Complete and submit applications by the deadline.
- For properties under construction, ask to be added to the interest/marketing list.
- Once you’ve submitted your applications or joined a waitlist, let each property know if you move or change your phone number. Ask about the best way to keep in contact.
Apply to as many affordable housing properties as you can. Be persistent and informed, and advocate for more affordable housing in your community!