- When you apply for subsidized units you are usually added to a waitlist, which may be very long. The sooner you get your name on the waitlist, the better. When a unit becomes available, the housing entity makes multiple calls to those on the waitlist. If you are contacted, be ready to move in quickly.
- If you move or change your phone number while on a waitlist, update your contact information with every housing entity where you have applied.
- Fill out applications completely. Keep a copy of every application and supporting documentation.
- When you submit an application in person, get a receipt (it may even be a sticky note with a date stamp). Keep all receipts and records of housing documents in a file.
- Read instructions thoroughly. Communicate in the way requested – some housing entities require all questions or updates be in writing, while some may allow for phone calls.
- Be sure to include preferences or priorities (facing eviction, homeless, displaced due to fire, veteran, domestic violence, etc.). Housing authorities also give priority to town residents. If you qualify for a preference or priority, you will move up the waitlist more quickly.
DOCUMENTS YOU MIGHT NEED
- Proof of income, including pay stubs, tax forms, bank statements, Social Security statements or statements from government agencies about benefits
- Social Security cards
- Proof of immigration status of all household members
- Proof of your current living arrangements
- Landlord references and contact information
- Documents showing you have a disability, if applicable
- For public housing, apply to the housing authority in the town(s) where you want to live.
- The amount of rent is often income-based.
- For a list of housing authorities across the state, visit mass.gov and search “Local Housing Authority Contact Listing.”
CHAPTER 40B HOUSING
- State policy requires many housing developers to include a certain amount of affordable housing units for households who make 80% or less of the area’s median income. These units are available through a lottery system run by towns or developments.
- Search for these lotteries online by using an internet search including the words “affordable housing lottery + (town name)”
MASS ACCESS HOUSING REGISTRY
The Mass Access Housing Registry lists the addresses and contact information for many subsidized multi-family housing units. The website can also be used to search for accessible or affordable apartments.
METRO HOUSING BOSTON
Formerly Metro Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP), this nonprofit agency offers an online apartment search, guidance on applying for housing vouchers, and in-person workshops. It also operates the Housing Consumer Education Center for residents of greater Boston (including Belmont, Brookline, Newton, Waltham, and Watertown). The center specializes in online and in-person services for tenants, landlords, homeowners, homebuyers, homeless individuals, and residents facing eviction.
SMOC (SOUTH MIDDLESEX OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL)
This nonprofit agency manages several properties of their own, and also operates the Housing Consumer Education Center for residents of Metrowest towns (including Needham, Wellesley and Weston). The center specializes in online and in-person services for tenants, landlords, homeowners, homebuyers, homeless individuals, and residents facing eviction.