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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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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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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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Recent news about affordable housing you can use

Lottery Highlights

Community Development Corporations, city officials and affordable housing advocates actively seek new applicants  for apartment lotteries and waitlists. When there are hundreds of Affordable Rental Units announced, there could be 100 applications returned for each one, or thousands to a development with just 30 or less affordable units.

As you know these new construction projects can be highly sought after for there is demand for qualified tenants in the market rate space as well as in the income restricted and public, subsidized, low-income space. I need not tell you how competitive it can be The LOTTERY evens the playing field when it works the right wa – that is — when there are no backroom or politically influenced deals made.

But as you know, some applications are dead on arrival due to missing information or simply that the person applying is not qualified to apply. Lottery is bidding, Know that 50% of a winning formula is Showing Up; 25% is luck and you need it, so 75% of your lottery placement score is probably going to be determined by the fit of your family to the available unit size and scope of the project; your credit score is a big deal, your landlord history is a big deal, and  your proven ability to pay the rent no matter how high or low it is, is a very big deal.

Here’s a quick summary of recent affordable priced lotteries and home ownership sales.

2 Bedroom house for sale in Roslindale  on market for $246K where market rate could be $280k

Brockton – a waiting list opens at Brockton Trinity Village
Dorchester – Now leasing leasing at Upper 1474 Dorchester Ave 02122.
Brookline affordable housing lottery opens APRIL 19th for 45 Marion Street Apartments.  Renting studios and 1 BRs from $785 to 958.
Norwood, MA Rental Lottery. New construcction apartment rentals. Thirteen 1BR $1,134 per month, twenty-two 2BR for $1362/mo, three 3BR for $1,566.00. Sizes range from 826 to 1400 per square feet. Each unit has a washer, a dryer, and there’s
Haymarket Square One Canal Street — 22 apartments available by lottery
HUB25 at 25-35 Morrisseuy Blvd, Dorchester – Thirty-six New BRA Income Restricted
apartments for rent. The maximun annual household income to qualify for one person is $48,250, two persons $55,000, three person $62,000, four persos $68,950, five persons $74,000, six persons $80,000.


Here’s a list of housing authorities you ask about vouchers and Section 8  that are just outside Boston.

Cambridge –

Newton, MA –

Click here to get the [ Building Managers Short List  ] where  rents are capped at 30% AMI. The list has locations,  property manager names and their email addresses and phone numbers.

The Massachusetts Centralized Housing Choice Section 8 Waitlist sign-up
screen is [ here. ]