What is affordable housing?
You may qualify for some types of housing, but not for others. The best program for you will depend on your income and household needs.
Types of housing
The rent for a subsidized housing unit is linked to your income. In a subsidized unit, you pay a set percentage of your income each month. This is ideal for households with no or very low incomes. Find out your eligibility.
In most cases, the rent for income-restricted housing is linked to the unit. You pay the same set amount each month. This is true even if your income changes. Income-restricted housing is often calculated using the Area Median Income.
Rental vouchers help low-income households rent private market apartments. Vouchers give you a set amount to go toward rent. You pay for any rent over that amount. The only voucher program accepting applications right now is the VASH program for veterans.
Subsidized Housing OptionsSubsidized
The authority owns and operates public housing units for:
- low-income people
- the elderly, and
- people with disabilities.
Please keep in mind: there’s usually a long waitlist. At times, the waitlist is closed.
MassHousing finances the construction and preservation of affordable rental housing in Massachusetts. The program also keeps a list of its projects with affordable housing.
Through MassHousing, the state offers a tax incentive for those who want to create affordable homes.
With these properties, private owners receive subsidies for renting to low-income households. Most often, these are multi-family homes. You must apply to each property separately, through the property’s management company.
Area Median Income
Many housing programs use Area Median Income as the standard to determine income eligibility. This is often referred to as "AMI."
AMI is a measure of income set by the federal government. It's used by housing programs across the country. Your eligibility depends on how your household income compares to other households in the Boston area. By knowing your AMI, you can find out if qualify for a certain programs.
- Add up all of your household members, including all adults and children.
- Determine your Gross Household Income. This includes the income before taxes of all household members who are 18 and older. You also need to include earned wages, benefits, and pension and support payments.
- Find a program for which you may be eligible based on your household size and income limits.
To take part in certain housing programs, there may be other criteria, including:
- asset limits or requirements
- immigration status
- criminal record background check
- housing history, including eviction from subsidized property, and
- priorities and preferences for certain programs.
You may also qualify for special housing programs based on your age, a disability, or veteran status.