Looking for Housing?
Read about steps to finding affordable housing.
Find contact information for organizations that provide affordable housing or review a list of current openings for subsidized affordable housing waitlists.
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!
You can view waiting list openings and listed non-profit and private market housing in Alameda County at https://achousingchoices.org/.
Alameda County now has a portal where you can view current waitlist openings for all new affordable homes that were built using Measure A1 funding. This is a great place to start, but remember, click through all housing providers below and see if they have housing that aligns with your needs and apply to those units as well.
Applying for and securing community-subsidized affordable housing can take many months or years. If you need immediate/emergency housing support please see our list of housing legal aid, shelter, and other housing support services.
If you want to see what housing options are available and start applying to waitlists and apartments, review each organization’s website below to see the kind of affordable housing they help provide, if they have a list of available units, or have openings on their waitlists for specific housing communities.
The video below is an introduction to different types of affordable housing and a panel of residents of affordable housing and an explanation of different paths to apply for an affordable housing unit from staff who work at organizations that provide or connect people to affordable homes.
Organizations that Provide Affordable Housing
Non-profit organizations that develop, own and manage affordable housing in the East Bay
Abode Services | (510) 657-7409 | www.abodeservices.org
Bay Area Community Land Trust| (510) 545-3258 | www.bayareaclt.org
BRIDGE Housing | (415) 989-1111 | www.bridgehousing.com
Christian Church Homes | (510) 632-6712 | www.cchnc.org
Community Housing Development Corporation | (510) 412-9290 | www.communityhdc.org
Covia | (925) 956-7400 | www.covia.org
EAH Housing | (415) 258-1800 | www.eahhousing.org
East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) | (510) 287-5353 | www.ebaldc.org
Eden Housing | (510) 582-1460 | www.edenhousing.org
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley | (510) 251-6304 | www.habitatebsv.org
Housing Consortium of the East Bay | (510) 832-1382 | www.hceb.org
Human Good Organizations | (925) 924-7100 | www.humangood.org
Mercy Housing California | (415) 355-7100 | www.mercyhousing.org
MidPen Housing | (650) 356-2900 | www.midpen-housing.org
Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services | (510) 237-6459 | RichmondNHS.org
Northern California Land Trust | (510) 548-7878 |www.nclt.org
Oakland Community Land Trust | (510) 463-2887 | www.oakclt.org
Resources for Community Development | (510) 841-4410 | www.RCDhousing.org
Satellite Affordable Housing Associates | (510) 647-0700| www.sahahomes.org
The Unity Council | (510) 535-6900 | www.unitycouncil.org
PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES
Management of affordable housing and administration of Section 8 programs
Alameda County| (510) 538-8876 | www.haca.net
City of Alameda | (510) 747-4300 | www.alamedahsg.org
Berkeley | (510) 981-5470 | https://bha.berkeleyca.gov/
Contra Costa County | (925) 957-8000 | www.contracostahousing.org
Livermore | (925) 447-3600 | www.livermoreHA.org
Oakland | (510) 874-1500 | www.oakha.org
Pittsburg | (925) 252-4830
Richmond | (510) 621-1300 | www.ci.richmond.ca.us/rha
Immediate Housing Support
EMERGENCY HOUSING & SHELTER SERVICES
Community-based organizations that provide transitional, supportive, and rapid re-housing; mental and physical health services; and other support services.
A Safe Place Domestic Violence Services
emergency transport, food, shelter for women and children facing domestic violence
24-hour crisis line: (510) 536-7233
emergency housing, rapid re-housing, health clinic
Alameda Point Collaborative
permanent and supportive housing in City of Alameda
(510) 898-7854 (services center)
Bay Area Community Services
temp housing for people with mental health challenges or post-incarceration
Bay Area Rescue Mission
shelters for single men, women, and women with children
Berkeley Food and Housing Project
homeless prevention, rental assistance, rapid re-housing in Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano counties
The Hub for Shelter Information: (866) 960-2132
Veteran Services: (855) 862-1804
Bonita House, Inc.
for people with mental health and substance use disorders
shelter, housing assistance for victims of domestic violence,
Crisis Line: (866) 292-9688 / (866) A-Way-Out
Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency
transitional housing after discharge from hospital or prison
Catholic Charities East Bay
back rent, security deposits, utilities, one-time financial assistance
Center for Independent Living
housing services for people with disabilities
Contra Costa Crisis Center/Contra Costa 211
referrals to homeless and housing services
211 or (800) 833-2900
Contra Costa County Youth Continuum of Services
drop-in services, housing for youth and transition-aged youth (call for location)
(800) 610-9400 or (510) 236-9612
Davis Street Family Resource Center
clinic, clothing, food, and homelessness resources in San Leandro
East Bay Community Recovery Project (EBCRP)
for women, children, people exiting Santa Rita Jail with mental health, drug, alcohol challenges
East Oakland Community Project
emergency, transitional housing for individuals, families
ECHO Housing Assistance Center
move-in costs, back rent, housing assistance, homebuyer education, tenant/landlord info
Family Emergency Shelter Coalition
housing subsidies for families in Alameda County
510-886-5473 ext. 101
First Place for Youth
youth exiting foster care
Fremont Family Resource Center
Greater Richmond Interfaith Program
housing referrals, showers, food, laundry, mail for veterans, individuals
Hope Solutions (formerly Contra Costa Interfaith Housing)
permanent supportive housing
Housing CHOICES for Alameda County
database to search for affordable housing
Housing Consortium of the East Bay
people with developmental disabilities, special needs
Impact Justice: Homecoming Project
housing support for formerly incarcerated people
Lutheran Social Services
childcare, housing support
Emergency housing for veterans, mobile outreach, permanent supportive housing
Rainbow Community Center
emergency housing for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 12-24) in Concord
SAVE (Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments)
housing and legal support for youth and victims of domestic violence
24-hour crisis hotline: (510) 794-6055
Empowerment Center: (510) 574-2250
housing and one-time move-in support for families, veterans, individuals,in Contra Costa County
Spectrum Community Services – Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
energy bill assistance, nutrition, fall prevention for seniors and low-income people
STAND! For Families Free of Violence
resources for people harmed by violence
Crisis hotline: (888) 215-5555
St. Mary’s Center
housing and health support for seniors in Oakland
St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County
emergency overnight shelter for adults
LEGAL, FINANCIAL AND HOUSING RIGHTS SERVICES
Information and support on eviction, discrimination and other legal and financial issues
Bay Area Legal Aid
Alameda County Office: (510) 663-4744
Contra Costa Office: (510) 233-9954
Legal Advice Line: (800) 551-5554
Tenants Rights Line (Alameda County): (888) 382-3405
Centro de Servicios
Centro Legal de la Raza
legal clinics for Alameda County tenants
Community Resources for Independent Living
housing assistance for seniors and people with disabilities
East Bay Community Law Center
legal assistance for low-income people
Eviction Defense Center
legal services in Alameda County
Family Violence Law Center (FVLC)
survivors of violence and sexual assault
Hotline: (800) 947-8301
FORECLOSURE, HOUSING AND TENANT COUNSELING RESOURCES
Additional counseling and legal and financial guidance related to foreclosure and tenancy
support for first-time homebuyers, foreclosure intervention, default counseling
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
tenant rights hotline and clinic, unlawful detainers, legal referrals
Tenants Rights Clinic: (510) TENANTS (510) 836-2687
Community Housing Development Corporation
car loans and grants for working people, first-time homebuyer support, down payment assistance, foreclosure, loan modification
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates
foreclosure prevention, housing discrimination
(510) 271-8443 ext. 300
Oakland Housing Assistance Center
info-line about Oakland-funded housing programs including homebuying and rehab assistance
Pacific Community Services
rental and low-income homebuyer assistance in Pittsburg
Tenant-Landlord Dispute Line: (408) 720-9888
Housing Discrimination: (888) 324-7468
Housing Counseling: (408) 470-3730
Tenant Rights Hotline: (888) 495-8020
FORECLOSURE PREVENTION HOTLINES
Homeownership Preservation Foundation
(888) 995-HOPE (4673)
Keep Your Home California
FINANCIAL WELLNESS SUPPORT PROGRAMS
legal support, public benefits, employment support, re-entry support, financial education
Oakland Center: (510) 208-0912
Richmond Center: (510) 412-1725
Antioch Center: (925) 399-8990
Hayward Center: (510) 670-5700
Concord Center: (925) 671-4500
Money Management International
foreclosure, reverse-mortgage, pre-purchase counseling
Operation Hope Oakland
budgeting, debt reduction, credit report clearance, small business support