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Rumour of war in affordable housing

Boston snow scene

Do you want to use a competitive advantage when going after affordable rental apartments and home resales? If you do, scroll down for our recommendation. 

The Battleground is set.
Tick. Tock. Iran Iraq.
The generals are at war.
“Wars matter” to the housing sector.
The cost of money rises  (bad for credit and mortgage underwriting). Prices for new homes fall (good for consumers & renters. ) Home values fall (good for property taxpayers ).  More BOMBS are sold. People lose jobs.  And there will be deaths (oh no!)

Well, there is some good news to report.

THERE ARE MORE AFFORDABLE HOME RESALE LISTINGS ON THE MARKET FOR BUYERS in Massachusetts who are eligible for the below market rate prices.  The quality of the houses on either side of the market is the same.  One is here.  Check them out! Another one is here. Ten are listed up on our longer list.  

Using your speakerphone – Call our (617) 996-7117 forms supply line from  your cellphone right now and “Press 1.” The affordable home and apartment rental listings will appear on your phone. You can use the info you receive to apply directly with the property managers. 

Good News

If you have a four-figure budget for rent the cash might cover the cost of the mortgage package.   Owning a home costs more than renting an apartment because the roof, the heating systems, the hot water heater and etc., is all yours. When they break, you pay.  But owning is a better use of cash flow than renting.  Our good friends at the Massachusetts Affordable Home Alliance can show you the benefit analysis of owning vs renting. 

You will receive price breaks and reduced mortgage costs when you complete a First Time Home Buyers course. See the list of locations for doable-in-an-afternoon classes in Massachusetts.

Text messaging is fast

Mandatory affordable apartment rental housing forms are required to get you into the units. You have to file it. You must apply to obtain Move-In approval then you have to wait and see if your application was picked.

Do you want to have a competitive advantage when seeking affordable housing?   

Here’s one.

[  Use the  SMS text service  to target 1st come 1st served offers and apply as soon as you see one come into your Text Message inbox. ]

That’s it!! 
Get the SmallWall SMS advantage.
You know how human nature is.
Procrastination can be our worst enemy.

And the documentation stack required to submit with affordable housing applications is a lot of work. This is why you should target 1st come 1st served opportunities that fit your budget criteria.

Move-in approvals every day

Every day of the week, somebody gets to move into an affordable apartment or home after applying for it. Here is what affordable apartment property managers who oversee thousands of rental units tell us. They say people move out every day. There are move-ins every day. There are a number of reasons for this traffic flow. People who receive move-in approval tend to stay there for years!

You can get move-in approval via the First Come, First Served deal offer. You can get move-in approval with the Lottery. You can do it with a Waitlist entry.  You can get lucky. Somebody always wins move-in approval.

You can get the text messaging service here from We named it the Smallwall SMS app.  



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25 Dorchester 1BR apartments 50% AMI in Dorchester at $803

Aparatment Construction

Each person received a number when their sealed apartment lottery application arrived.  One thousand showed up. Twenty-five will be selected. The rent is $803/mo for a 1BR new-build. 

Real estate brokers won’t touch this. They are not needed in the Massachusetts rental lottery. Used 1-BR apartments are going for more than $1,499 in the city.

This one is brand-new.  
You can’t smoke in this building.

If two or more will live in the apt,  the household income is restricted to $49,680. FICO and credit reports will be checked. 

The housing lottery Opening Date has arrived, in this real-world scenario.

Curtain call comes. 

Lights! Camera! Action!

Bean counters randomly cycle numbers that were assigned to applications. 
A person twirling a barrel or a machine and a software program picks the numbers. Its like lucky guessing. There could artificial intelligence driving the decision making. And if it is, the AI may be biased!

The air is tense. Sometimes the lottery manager will provide space for a crowd to gather and watch as the number picking process unfolds. The application forms may be stacked up there, or they have been filed and substituted with a computer-printed number.

Hopeful tenants filed them on time!  The Internet and the U.S. Post Office delivered them.  Some were hand-delivered before the deadline arrived.

And the winners are Twenty-five tenants!

The office starts its due diligence process on them. The household income fit is checked, among other things like Preferences, homeless status. The verification process takes a while. 

Then it happens.  

Eight hopeful applicant applicants are disqualified because they filed a non-compliant application in the lottery.

The lottery mechanism picks the next eight from the ranked list. 

 Months later, the building begins to fill.

sponsored by

Smallwall SMS. Go to our shop to start streaming lottery applications and affordable housing offers in Boston and Massachusetts.

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Why the rents you see for income-based rental apartments are what they are.

Income and rents

  • At Somerville’s Kent Street Apartments, a 100% affordable community, certain income restrictions apply. For homes without rental assistance/subsidy, there is a 2.5x the monthly rent gross monthly income minimum.  Example: If the apartment rents for $1,400 they look for incomes of $3,500 per month which is approximately $834 dollars per week. click to open the  Kent Street apartment application. 
  • Call (617) 996-7117 and our Help Desk operator will tell you how to start receiving lottery applications wherever you are on your cellphone when you want them.  

What is a rental subsidy?

  • A rental subsidy may be offered by the rental assistance programs that offer financial aid to help low-income persons rent apartments other than apartments in public housing developments.
  • Elderly, handicapped and low-income families can reduce rents when they have qualifying disabilities. Use the the CHAMP APPLICATION.
  • The  Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) is a housing subsidy. It reduces rents showing on price charts. When you qualify you also reduce the amount of DEPOSITS you may be required to post.
  • The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) subsidy comes from Massachusetts state. 
  • The Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) subsidy comes from Massachusetts State. You apply thru an agency. You will go on a waitlist. Once an applicant reaches the top of the waiting list, the applicant will be contacted and provided an orientation on all aspects of the program.  If all is well the applicant receives an AHVP Voucher. They will have 120 days to locate appropriate housing. The AHVP voucher is valid in Massachusetts only.

How many people might apply to a lottery?

When the  Uphams Crossing in Dorchester, MA went to market  there were 80 affordable apartments. The landlord sent out 5,000 applications to housing lottery applicants. 3,300 hopefuls returned applications. 80 of them won the lottery and were offered a chance to move in.  

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Affordable apartment rental prices per location

MBTA Shawmut artwork

NOVEMBER lottery action

The FINCH Apts in Cambridge  Lottery
The HarborWalk Apt lottery  downtown
Canvas Apartment lottery Beverly, MA  

Call 617 996-7117 with your cell,
Press 1 for the Smallwall SMS list.

when you recieve the Smallwall SMS lottery list
you’ll have applications to be filed before upcoming deadlies

Look who is hiring

Quantitative Analyst needed, sal  $50,000 – $90,000, full-time
DEBTX, Inc., downtown Boston

Staff Associate, Web Content Developer, sal starts $70,000
Online Development Manager,sal starts $80,000
Bridgewater State University

Apartment waitlist

Jamaica Plain Pitts Portfolio
$1,269-$1,746 per month, bedroom sizes vary
1st come, 1st serve

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New waitlists for rentals in private-owned affordable buildings.

Nantucket crossroads

WAIT LISTs are a path to affordable apartment rentals.

Here are a few Waitlists locations accepting applications updated November 14th, 2019.

Receive more listings from  Smallwall SMS 
apartment rentals and Section 8 offers.

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Affordable housing vacancy list from the unknowable market.

Organize your space

Apartment vacancies exist in the internet stream, however; there are non-advertised affordable apartment units. The number is unknowable. Some are found in neighborhood gossip. We see flyers with APT AVAIL notices pinned to ice cream and coffee shop bulletin boards. A food coop where vegetarians and vegans shop is a another source for leads. Those bulletin boards have listings posted. 

How to get housing lottery applications in MA streaming to your SMS device.  click here to request yours.

How to get Jobs we can refer you to.

You are welcome to request JOB leads.  Use this  form.

Jobs and career opportunities paying $45,000 to $150,000 from recruiters who are seeking referrals from us are here.

  • November – thru December are holiday shopping months.  FEDEX and UPS shippers will definitely be hiring people in the warehouses to handle the increased volume. They pay $18/hr on average.
  • CENSUS.  The Census bureau is hiring, starting at $25/hr with flexible hours. You can apply there at  Call 1-855-JOB-2020.
  • Licensed drivers can get work at a lot of places. And if you have a CDL – ( commercial drivers license)  oh goodness, there are too many jobs openings out there for  you. 

Stay connected

Get on our Jobs Mailing List Here (click). When FEDEX and UPS start sending in their job openings we send you the copy and contact info.

We are showing a few of the many listings available to rent or purchase housing at affordable prices. You receive all listing with Smallwall  SMS Text service from  Learn More

Where are the hard-to-find affordable rental apartments?

.Keep you eyes wide open everywhere you go. A home owner and landlord living in a large 3 or 4-family house used to tape a store-bought Rental Available poster on the front porch for all to see, before the Internet hit, driving people to spend hours on Craigslist looking up the listings.

But you know that be a hassle, so what else can you do? Start with the Boston Herald newspaper Classified Section because good prices for rentals and rooms are often listed there.  Stop by laundromats, coffee shops and ice-cream parlos and look at the bulletin boards.  Watch what hangs on a telephone pole in the neighborhoods.  Ask a bar tender.  Do the owners of storefront bodega stores own property for rent? You bet they do and they often have it upstairs above their stores in the same buildings.

People own empty homes but are afraid to rent floors to strangers.

  • You know this happens more than you think. But when they have a need for cash they will rent them. Ask everyone where you work or who you know about this, something will turn up.
  • Ask around at the churches, check their newsletters and bulletins.
  • Form alliances with social service techs and support housing advocates events.  The contacts are useful for your housing search.

Electronic filers are making these moves

  • HousingWorks, Inc., a non-profit in the Fenway who does work for many housing authorities in charge of listings for towns –  has either put the ( some) applications online, or has a link to it, or a way to get it in time to join the lottery.
  • Usually  applications are completely TYPEABLE, which saves you time: you can finish the applications faster for the client. 
  • They are easier for the lottery person to read. They ( the lottery applications) are easier to mail because the address fits in the window of many # 10 window envelopes going out into the mail after labels are printed.
  • The support with the SMALLWALL SMS item provides access to electronic filing.   Order Online

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Housing lottery briefing on affordable vacant units.

Sonoma in Dor


Construction sites are busy raising buildings on a tight timeline. As one housing block is finished,  space is cleared somewhere else to build another one in the city. The large apartment buildings are less likely built in the surrounding suburbs.  A number of large multi-plex developments come online in the suburbs but at a slower pace than they are in the City of Boston.


And there is a turnover. Thousands of income-restricted apartments will have tenants coming and going – moving laterally, or into units from Wait Lists and other social service placements.  The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Stock is a mix of new and old units. There were 3,733 new housing units built in Boston in 2018 as part of Mayor Walsh’s Housing plan to build 69,000 new housing units by 2030.  But 60,000 people are on affordable housing Wait Lists around the state, and most wage earners are eligible for the units.  


Affordable rent rates are fixed by government policy.  Large households are charged more than singles can pay for the same unit. When you are examining the lottery opportunities, pay particular attention to the AMI Percentage tag.  The AMI number determines the unit rent rate.

Taking a shot

SMS list sample

Review 100s of open unit prices in our lottery SMS messages

Help Desk + SMS 

You can contact us with affordable housing questions and receive all the official housing lottery applications in SMS text messages – the fastest way to compete in the affordable housing lottery.  You’ll learn tactics such as how to get your paperwork digitized by the proper authorities and auto-matched to rental opening that fit your profile so that you don’t have to submit new paperwork every time. 

We supply information and the applications to help you get an affordable housing deal in Massachusetts.  

Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns. Most offer affordable housing options via a matrix of public, quasi-public, Federal, State, Non-profit and Commercial entities.  Opportunities are coming and going every day.

Use your cell phone camera on this QR CODE
The 30-day Help Desk + SMS Service is $4.99
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The market-rate renters looking at Boston apartments are coming from New York.

dance with grace

The new buildings are barely full. The 1BR rents are approximately $2,400/mo, depending on where it is located. A 2 BR in a new building across the street from the VA Hospital in Jamaica Plain rents for $2,750/mo. Market rate apartments in Boston are looking for customers.  The owner-occupied rentals are better deals, usually, because you will get more for your money. More square footage and neighborhood feel. Owners were forced to register their apts rentals and AirBnB rentals by new policies enacted by the City of Boston. The other cities and towns have their own rules. 

New York feeds 22% of the renters shopping for market-rate apartments, followed Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. Residents in New England states move in for jobs.  For those who are leaving Boston, they move to more affordable towns and cities.

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60,000 people are on Affordable Housing Wait Lists. Let’s break it down.

Wait List for apartmentts

WaitLists at MASSACHUSETTS Public Housing Authorities ( the government ), whether they be state, city or federal waitlists hovering over Massachusetts, are public knowledge.  There are 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Each one may have a “public housing authority.” Those who have one have a WAITLIST.  The Public Housing Authority wait lister may qualify under special preferences. People with emergencies and other PREFERENCES  ( view 44 recognized preferences  ) may be placed HIGHER on Wait Lists than others.   The Higher on the waitlist you are, the more likely you’ll get the next opening. That’s the way it is supposed to work but insiders, advocates and funders for that property can influence what’s going on. Example: When 1,000 new Section 8 housing vouchers were recently allocated for Boston residents, there were four organizations selected to choose who gets one.

Seniors and the elderly, veterans,  disabled, handicapped and residents with special needs may be added to DIFFERENT wait lists separate from the general population.

There is an independent service in Boston that helps you file digital applications to as many waitlists as there are that meet your eligibility criteria. You will need to get a HOUSING ADVOCATE to do that filing for you. Click here to see hundreds of advocates you can contact in Massachusetts.You’ll have to complete a mountain of paperwork before the app is digitized and entered into the system. 

Private Waitlisters

 But what about Private, Non-government owned real estate for rent. Is there a waitlist for those? Property Managers who have contract with Housing Authorities and Community Development Corporations are usually required to maintain Waitlist. 

Of course. They exist for a number of reasons.  It takes people, hours, computer time, software and administrative costs to maintain a waitlist of residents looking to get in.   Some private,  for-profit landlords will maintain waitlist as an ROI return on their investment for marketing the property. Why turn away good candidates for the future when you can just pull the list out of a file the next time you have a vacancy and call that person.

Owner Occupied Property

Even small owner-occupied properties have some resemblance of a waitlist. It makes sense for a private landlord with rooms to rent to maintain a waitlist. 


One Back Bay, 135 Clarendon Street, Back Bay, MA 02116
Studios, 1 Bedrooms, 2 Bedrooms
Income Restricted at 40% AMI and 50% AMI
Note: Applications can be emailed or sent via US Postal Service upon request by calling One Back Bay at 617-284-5111 or via email at
Rental Waitlist – Open; Back Bay Rental Info 

Gables Arsenal Street, 204 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1 Bedroom – $1,496
2 Bedroom – $1,655
3 Bedroom – $1,815
Income Restricted at 80% CDBG AMI
Rental Waitlist – Open; Watertown Rental Info

Cooper House, 419 Walnut Avenue, Roxbury, MA 02119
Studios and One Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Income Restricted at 30% and 50% AMI 
Applicants must be 62 years of age and older
Rental Waitlist – Open; Roxbury Rental InfoApplication

Carleton House, 2055 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA 02119
Studio – $820
Income Restricted at 60% AMI
Rental Waitlist – Open; Roxbury Rental InfoApplication

Spencer House, 2053R Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA 02119
1 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Income Restricted at 30% AMI and 50% AMI
Applicants must be 62 years of age and older
Rental Waitlist – Open; Roxbury Rental InfoRoxbury Application

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House, 132 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, MA 02135
1 Bedroom – $976
Income Restricted at 60% AMI
Rental Waitlist – Open; Brighton Rental InfoBrighton Rental Application

Roxbury Crossing Senior Building, 30 Gurney Street, Roxbury, MA 02120
1 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Income Restricted at 30% AMI; Must be 62 Years or Older
Rental Waitlist – Open; Roxbury Rental Info

Mosaic on the Riverway, 80-82 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115
Income Restricted – 60% AMI
1 Bedroom – $1,093
2 Bedroom – $1,301
3 Bedroom – $1,495
Rental Waitlist – Open; Fenway Rental Info 

Washington Columbia I, 173 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 02121
Income Restricted – 30% and 50% AMI
1 Bedroom and 2 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Rental Waitlist – Open; Dorchester Rental Info

Quincy Geneva II Apartments, 200 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 02121
Income Restricted – 30% and 50% AMI
1 Bedroom, 2 Bedroom, 3 Bedroom and 4 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Rental Waitlist – Open; Dorchester Rental Info

Bancroft Apartments, Various Locations in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury
Income Restricted – 50% AMI
2 Bedroom, 3 Bedroom, and 4 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income
Rental Waitlist – Open; Bancroft Apartments Rental Info

Constitution Co-op, 42 Park Street, Charlestown, MA 02129
Studio and 1 Bedroom – Rent is 30% of monthly income 
Rental Waitlist – Open; Charlestown Rental Info

MetroMark Apartments, 3593-3615 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
1 Bedroom – $1,680
2 Bedroom – $1,827
Rental Waitlist – Open; Jamaica Plain Rental Info

Charles River Landing, 300 2nd Avenue, Needham. MA 02494
1 Bedroom – $1,344
2 Bedroom – $1,486
Rental Waitlist – Open; Needham Rental Info

92 on North Main, 92 North Main Street, West Boylston, MA 01583
1 Bedroom – $1,176
2 Bedroom – $1,402
3 Bedroom – $1,611
Income Restrictions Apply. See Rental Info Link. 
Rental Waitlist – Open; West Boylston Rental Info

Lodge at Ames Pond, One Ames Hill Drive, Tewksbury, MA 01876
1 Bedroom – $1,256
2 Bedroom – $1,497
3 Bedroom – $1,725
Income Restrictions Apply. See Rental Info Link. 
Rental Waitlist – Open; Tewksbury Rental Info

Mass Mills III, 150 Mass Mills Drive, Lowell, MA 01852
Studio – $1,059
1 Bedroom – $1,119
2 Bedroom – $1,330
3 Bedroom – $1,526
Rental Waitlist – Open; Lowell Rental Info

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Cambridge affordable housing opportunities

City Hall Cambridge

City of Cambridge affordable housing is owned by non-profits,  Town Hall, and there are privately-owned affordable housing units. Low income applicants are charged 30% of their income for rent when selected into the program.  The Community Development Department (CDD) is accepting Preliminary Applications.  To be considered into the Inclusionary Housing Rental Program you must apply.  You can view the eligibility requirements here and download the application. 

Housing in the Middle-Income program is for households with an income between $60,000 to $100,000. The Maximum Income Program allows incomes between $90,000 and $150,000.

A number of departments and organizations are building and renting affordable housing in the City of Cambridge. Click here to view the list.