Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled

Housing Information You Can Use


Housing Info
You Can Use

Table of Contents

Tips on Finding Affordable Housing

  1. Apply to the local housing authority first. Many housing authorities give priority to local residents. Homeless applicants should apply to the housing authority of the town from which they were displaced and to the housing authority in the town where they are sheltered. They should receive a residency preference from one or the other
  2. Ask the right questions. Ask the housing authority which programs are available and fill out applications for those you are interested in. Homeless applicants, or those about to become homeless, should ask for an emergency application. Ask how the housing authority prioritizes its federal preferences. Do they use local and ranking preferences? All housing agencies are required by law to post this information in their reception areas. Applicants should ask if the housing authority knows of other housing agencies that are accepting applications. If necessary, ask the housing authority to mail applications for all of the rental assistance programs. Housing authorities must mail applications for state public housing, but they do not have to mail applications for federal programs.
  3. Look at the original cause of homelessness when filling out applications. While people in shelters qualify for federal preference under the substandard housing category, many may qualify for additional preferences based on the orignial cause of displacement.
  4. Apply to as many housing agencies as possible. Each housing authority keeps its own waiting lists for the rental assistance and public housing programs that they run. The more lists that you can get your name on, the greater your chances of getting rental assistance. It is a matter of being on the right list at the right time. For a complete listing of all the local housing authorities and the nine regional nonprofit housing authorities, call the Department of Housing and Community Development at (617) 727-3240. For local housing authorities, call the independent living center in your area.
  5. Apply for units in private subsidized developments. These units are similar to public housing because the tenant pays a percentage of his/her income for rent. The subsidy is called "project-based" because it always stays with the unit. You apply for this subsidy at the management company that runs the developoment where the units are located. For a listing of these developments, contact the Mass. Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) at (617) 854-1000 and ask for the Housing List and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at (617) 565-5105 for the Listing of HUD-FHA Multifamily Housing.
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