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How do I find affordable housing online?

Many cities in North America have affordable housing programs.
These are designed to provide subsidized long-term housing for people whom reside permanently in the city that is running the program. A common feature of these programs is calculating rental fees on an income basis (for example 30% of gross household total income, subject to minimum rent based on size of household).

You may be able to apply for affordable subsidized housing if you are able to live independently and meet the eligibility criteria with regard to household, residency, income and assets.

To look for affordable housing programs in your area you can visit the website of your city government. While you are there you might run into terms that are bit unclear to people that do not work for a government agency so to better understand the different terms affordable housing program websites use you can consult this glossary:



Affordable (housing): Housing is considered affordable if 30 per cent or less of the gross household income is spent on housing costs.
Applicant: A person whom is applying for a program, service or benefit with a housing program.
Assets: A financial instrument that can be converted into money if needed.
Assisted Living: A type of housing for seniors or people with disabilities which provides in person personal-care and support services.


Bachelor: A type of residential apartment unit that combines the living room and bedroom in one room.
Below-market rental housing:  Below-market rental housing is housing with rents equal to, or lower than, average rates in private-market rental housing.
Benefit: A payment from the government to applicants who have been approved to receive assistance with housing.


Co-operative housing: A co-op is a type of housing that residents own and operate as part of a membership.
Couple: Two people in a married, common-law or marriage-like relationship.


Declaration of Work Completed: A written statement by a tradesman that attests that the task they were contracted to do is satisfactorily complete according to agreed-upon requirements.
Dependent child: An unmarried minor, adopted child, stepchild or legal ward, primarily supported by the applicant.
Please note: In The Housing Registry, some providers may have different criteria about what constitutes a dependent child.
Directly managed (housing): Social housing properties which are government-managed.
Disability: a condition that impairs a persons daily life.
Disability pension: Financial assistance that the government offers to a person who is considered disabled for income tax purposes.
Disabled for income tax purposes: A person who is disabled and whose disability is recognized by the tax authorities as being a work impediment.


Emergency shelter: A quickly available housing option for short stays that people whom are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless can use.


Family: See household, core
Fixed rate rent: A monthly rent amount that a housing provider sets for a unit. The amount does not change during a tenancy.
Forgivable loan: A grant with conditions. A type of loan that, if specified conditions are met, does not need to be repaid.


Group homes: A housing option typically a house which supports people with mental illness or physical severe physical disabilities.


High-barrier shelter: An emergency housing shelter with a high number of requirements for staying there, such as having to be a non drinker.
Home value limit (for HAFI): A maximum property value that your home can be in relation to the average value in your area.
Homeless rent supplements: A type of rent supplement that the government provides to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Homeless, at risk of homelessness: You are an individual or family that does not have a permanent address or residence.
Household (core): A core household consists of an applicant, spouse (if the applicant has one) and dependent children (if the applicant has any).
Housing Income Limits: Money amounts that represent the maximum annual income, which a household can earn to be able to obtain reasonable housing in their location.
Housing Listings: Online listing of affordable or subsidized housing properties.
Housing Needs Categories:
1. People that have a severe risk to their health or safety, such as homelessness
2. People with serious health/medical/social needs, such as risk of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse, living in severely inadequate housing or transitioning to a more independent living situation
3. People housing need is less severe than the previous categories, for example living in temporary housing
4. People with an usual housing need or not very severe housing need, such as living in slightly crowded housing
5. A person applying for a low-end rental unit rented at market rates in a subsidized buildings
Housing provider: An organization, society, or developer that operates places to live for renters with low incomes.
The Housing Registry: A database that provides access to affordable housing for renters and housing providers.
Housing (supported): Housing which includes in person services including food, cleaning, health care and counselling.


Income: Payments you receive from work, social assistance, pensions, interest, assets and other earnings.
Income assistance: A payment from a government agency given for the purposes of social assistance or social security.
Independent: An ability to sustain personal well-being health, safety, and obligations in housing.
Independent Living: A type of housing program for seniors and people with disabilities that includes on-site hospitality and personal-care support services.





LGBTQ: An acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer identities.
Low-barrier shelter: see Minimal-barrier shelter.
Low income: Household earnings in relation to housing. Housing programs use different ways to describe low income, depending on the program or service it relates to.
Low-end-of-market housing: A type of inexpensive housing the rent for which is calculated based on rental market conditions.
Low and Moderate Income Limits: a gross household income that does not exceed the median income for families with children, as determined by housing programs from time to time.


Market rent: What the rent in a particular area normally is.
Minimal-barrier shelter: An emergency shelter which minimal or no requirements for entry.


National Occupancy Standards: A guideline that is used to determine what size housing unit a single person, couple or family qualifies for.
Non-profit housing: A housing development run by a charity or another type of community-based organization.




Permanent resident: An immigrant whom does not have citizenship, but can legally reside in the country on a permanent basis.
Priority Placement Program: A program that gives women whom have experienced abuse priority access to housing programs.
Public housing: A housing development which is owned and run by a charity or a government agency.




Reference: A person who can verify your identity, information and suitability as a tenant.
Rent Affordability Limits: The maximum rent that a can be charged for a property, it is based the typical rents in the area.
Rent geared to income: A type of subsidized housing in wherein the organization that operates it sets your rent based on your income.
Rental Assistance Program: A program that helps people pay rent if they are members of a a low-income family.
Residency requirements:The requirement that you have legal citizenship, permanent residency or government-sponsored refugee status.


Safe homes: A type of temporary housing for women and children running away from abuse for whom a transitional house is not available.
Second-stage housing: Housing for women and children running away from abuse whom have previously stayed in a transition house or safe home.
Senior: An adult aged 55 years or older. Some programs may define a senior by a different age.
Seniors Supportive Housing: A type of housing for seniors and people with disabilities that includes on-site hospitality but not personal-care support services.
Service provider: An individual, group or organization that helps with a person's needs related to health and housing.
Sharer: A renter whom lives in the same place as the your family, but is considered by your landlord to be a separate tenant.
Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters: A type of rent supplement program that the government offers to eligible low-income older adults and people with disabilities.
Single-room-occupancy hotel: A type of housing, typically a single room in a building with shared bathrooms and kitchens.
Social housing: see Non-profit housing. Spouse: A husband or wife through marriage, a common-law partner or the person with whom the applicant is living with in a marriage-like relationship.
Subsidized housing: Housing where the rent paid in part by the government.
Supporting document: Documents used to verify your information or eligibility for a program or service.
Supportive housing: A type of housing that provides on-site supports and services to residents whom cannot currently live on their own.
Supports: Housing with supports.


Transition houses: A type of temporary housing for women and children whom are running away from domestic abuse. It is a safe, anonymous place to stay which provides food and support services.
Transitional housing: A type of housing for where people stay for between 30 days and three years. It's goal is to transition people to permanent housing.




Void cheque: A blank, personalized check from your bank account that wrote the word VOID on the front of.


Women's Transition House and Support Program: A type of housing program which provides support services for women and their dependent children when they are running away from domestic abuse. These programs include safe places to stay and transition houses.