New online hub helps residents find affordable housing in the Bay Area

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New website aims to help residents easily find affordable housing in the Bay Area
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

A new website aims to be a hub to easily find affordable housing in the Bay Area.

The Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) launched the Doorway Housing Portal, a first-of-its-kind regional online portal developed with pro bono support from Google.org Fellows, a team that includes Google researchers, designers, product managers and software engineers. 

At launch, the Doorway Housing Portal has centralized housing listings across the Bay Area and enabled housing seekers to use filters and a map-based interface to search for affordable housing, according to a report from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

A subsequent release of the Doorway Housing Portal, planned for the spring of 2024, will enable housing seekers to immediately determine their eligibility for various types of affordable housing units and apply for multiple listings directly in the portal – reducing the barriers of complexity with a common application, which will take less than 10 minutes, according to the MTC report.

“Individuals will also have access to helpful content to guide them through the process of finding and applying for affordable housing,” the MTC states.

The portal is accessible via desktop and mobile in five languages: English, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Developers and property managers are encouraged to use the portal to upload their listings.

In addition to assisting with the portal’s launch, Google will provide $2.5 million to fund its continued management, as well as in-kind services toward future outreach initiatives.

The Doorway Housing Portal builds on the success of the DAHLIA San Francisco Housing Portal(link is external), which was launched in 2016 by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development with support from Google.org Fellows, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and Exygy, a local B Corp and Digital Consultancy. Exygy will work with BAHFA staff to manage the portal moving forward.