Below, please find a short glossary of housing search terms and links to some resources that may be helpful as you navigate the housing process.


Lottery: Housing search opportunities listed as lotteries occur when a property is filling recently constructed units or opening a waitlist that has previously been closed. Applicants that are interested and income-qualified should fill out an application by the deadline, at which point tenants will be randomly selected for units and/or placed on a waiting list.


Tax Credit: Units typically in newer developments (buildings) that have been made to provide and set aside housing for low-income persons with the benefit of a tax credit for developers. This exists to ensure that the development contains a certain number of units reserved for persons with incomes at or below a certain percentage of the AMI adjusted for family size. The rent on these is fixed and not assessed based on a client’s income (i.e. a client could pay more than 30% of their income towards rent in a tax credit unit). For more information, please see here: MA LIHTC


Mobile Voucher: A federal subsidy program that assists low-income families and individuals to afford housing. This voucher can be applied to market rate apartments. These are distributed by housing authorities.


Public Housing: Housing units provided for people with low income, subsidized by state or federal funds. Managed by state or local housing authorities. Rent is calculated at 30% of a tenant’s income.


Low Income: Households making up to 30% of the AMI can apply to these opportunities. In Boston, this is equal to $24,900 for a single individual.


Moderate Income: Typically, households making between 50-70% of the AMI can apply to these opportunities. In Boston, this is $41,500 (50%) to $55,550 (70%) for a single individual.


Area Median Income (AMI): To further explore specific income requirements, utilize the HUD website to see specific AMIs for 2020.


Other important housing search terms can be found in this document.

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