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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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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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Legal help when landlords say no to Section 8 or disability checks.

Landlords who say no to Section 8 housing vouchers or disability checks when you pay the rent  are breaking the rules. Fortunately you can do something about it.

Call 617-884-7568 to report your trouble or visit the Suffolk Law Housing Discrimination Testing Program web site at 

Suffolk Law’s Housing Discrimination Testing Program (HDTP) is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to work in partnership with the Boston Fair Housing Commission to eliminate housing discrimination in the Boston metro area through testing, enforcement and education.

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A cool way to purchase a $500,000 house with a little help from Chan Zuckerberg.

bank cash

Let’s get right to it:

In high-priced housing markets, a home for $500,000 would require an ideal $100,000 down payment. Who has $100k laying around? Not too many people right. 

house with a huge porch in Newport RI

Well, if you are a teacher or eligible professional, here’s an option to consider:

  • If the house cost $500,000 in high priced market
  • Downpayment required is $50,000
  • You put $50,000 down
  • A Chan Zuckerberg co-funded LANDED initiative  pays $50,000
  • The balance is $400,000 ( ya need a mortgage )
  • The funder arranges the $400,000 mortgage
  • The mortgage is paid every month by ( )
  • you live there MORTGAGE FREE, just pay utils, upkeep, overhead.
  • years pass by
  • House is sold for  for $550,000
  • Why not: teacher or busy professionals moves on
  • Profit is $50,000 ( $550,00 minus $500,000 original cost)
  • keeps 75% of the sales profit
  • Teacher/Professional keeps 25% of the sales profit
  • That’s it!
  • # the end