Resource & Housing Navigation

Connecting you with accurate and timely information about housing and services, and providing support on how to navigate them.

The Openhouse Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) serves as a connector between you and valuable services. Our Resource and Housing Navigation team meets with community members one-one-one to provide referrals and assistance with accessing services such as:

  • Medical Care
  • Case Management
  • Benefits
  • Transportation
  • In-Home Care
  • Home-Delivered Meals

Contact Our Resource and Housing Navigator

Jose Santamaria

Housing Assistance

Openhouse offers guidance to those seeking affordable housing in San Francisco. Our primary housing service is our Housing Workshop, an hour-long presentation that provides an introduction to searching for housing, including overview of housing availability and eligibility requirements, exploration of strategies, and sharing of helpful resources, all in an LGBTQ-affirming environment! What makes our housing assistance unique is that community members may meet with our compassionate staff one-on-one after attending our workshop to create a personal housing search plan.

Current Housing Opportunities List 

You can also sign up to receive these lists in your inbox:

What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable housing refers to housing that is designated as “below market rate.” The federal government, the city of San Francisco and various non-profit housing organizations underwrite the development and leasing of affordable housing throughout SF. As a tenant, you will pay a reduced monthly rent based on your income.

Types of Affordable Housing

There are several types of affordable housing in San Francisco.

  • SROs, or single room occupancies, are single rooms for rent that have shared kitchen and bathroom facilities, usually located on the same floor.
  • BMR, or “below market rate,” units have been funded by the city, federal government and/or non-profit organizations. BMR units can comprise an entire building or be part of a complex that also includes market-rate housing.
  • Public housing is housing stock administered and maintained by the San Francisco Housing Authority and designated for low-income households.
  • Section 8 is a rental subsidy program whereby a tenant is given a voucher that they can use to rent from any landlord who will accept it. The voucher enables them to pay an affordable percentage of their income, while the San Francisco Housing Authority makes up the rest.
  • Project-Based Section 8 is a government-funded program that provides rental housing to low-income households in privately owned and managed rental units. The subsidy stays with the building; when youmove out, you no longer have the rental assistance.
  • Rent control is a citywide policy that limits landlords from raising rent more than a certain percentage every year, currently 2.2%, for as long as you reside in your apartment.
Applying for Affordable Housing

San Francisco is moving towards a centralized listing system via their on-line housing portal, DAHLIA. Visit DAHLIA to view San Francisco’s most current housing opportunities. If you are looking in the greater Bay Area, our monthly housing lists show you the buildings in surrounding counties that are accepting applications.

Once you’ve compiled a list of possible housing sites that look promising, your next step is to figure out what the application process entails. Most housing sites will require you to submit an official application.

Find out what the income eligibility and demographic priorities are. Income eligibility is the minimum and/or maximum income you can earn to be eligible to live at a particular housing facility. Demographic priorities are the population groups for whom the housing complex may have has units set aside (i.e. seniors, disabled residents, people living with HIV/AIDS).

Find out what the application procedures and deadlines are. Application procedures vary from site to site so be informed about what the deadlines and logistics are for each building that you’re applying to. For instance, some sites will only allow you to mail in applications, while others require you to drop them off in person. Make sure you have the relevant addresses and telephone numbers for the buildings you want to submit applications to.

Gather together supporting documents, including telephone and electricity bills, ID cards, pay stubs and other paperwork attesting to your income and current place of residence.

Find out what the process for selecting tenants is. Some buildings will combine the application and selection processes together and select tenants based on a first come, first served basis. Many buildings will set up a lottery system.

What is a lottery?

A lottery is a process whereby residents will be randomly selected from a pool of submitted applications. Under a lottery system, submitting an application (along with supporting documents) is no guarantee of housing. Learn the timeframe for when applicants will find out whether they’ve been selected. Submit your application and any supporting documents on time.

Sign up for waitlists

In many cases, you will find listings that say whether or not the facility has an open or closed waitlist. What is a waitlist? A waitlist is a list compiled by housing sites so that they can contact people when vacancies arise. Waitlists are either open or closed.

Further Tips

Apply to several housing sites and sign up for as many open waitlists as possible. Because the demand for affordable housing is significant in San Francisco, your safest bet is to put yourself on several lists simultaneously.

Make sure you have all your relevant paperwork together–telephone and electricity bills, ID cards, pay stubs and other documents attesting to your income and current place of residence.

Be certain you have all the information you need around how to apply for vacancies and waitlist openings. Take note of the locations and deadlines for picking up and handing in applications. In many instances, the site being advertised is not necessarily where you will go to hand in your application.

Keep a list of contact information for previous landlords who can serve as a reference for you.

Keep copies of applications and check-in with building management at least once a year around waitlists.

Check back in with developers periodically around any openings.

Seek help from a social worker, case manager or other service provider who can assist you with housing referrals and applications.

Get Our Monthly

Housing Resources List

We invite you to meet with one of our staff, talk about the many programs Openhouse offers, and learn about an exciting opportunity to have your voice heard as a new participant at Openhouse.