California affordable housing resources that help you save thousands of dollars on rent

Beth Torres

How to find affordable housing in California

It's no secret that finding affordable housing in California is a huge challenge for renters. Whether you're trying to rent a small studio as a single person or a three-bedroom house for a family, you'll find that rents are extraordinarily high throughout the state.

Some of the highest rents in the nation are in California cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This video from KGET News outlines some of the problems facing California renters and the new push for an amendment to make affordable housing a human right:

So, what is a renter to do who is on a tight budget and needs to find some place to live in California? Well, there are some resources and programs available through the state of California government and federal government that just might help.

I’ve listed some of these resources below along with some additional ideas and tips to help you on your quest for a budget-friendly rental.

Tip: Do your homework first

You’ll want to get your search off on the right track by familiarizing yourself with the rents in your target area. Online is a great place to start. Rental platforms like and Zumper can provide data on rent prices.

Want to know what the quality of life is like in your target area? City-Data reports on a lot of information that you’ll want to know about before you move.

They have some great interactive maps that help you access different kinds of data. I especially like how they present data on an area’s demographics, crime rates, schools, property values, and more. 

Subsidized Housing Programs: HUD and Section 8 

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has several programs that help individuals and families find affordable housing. If you're looking for rental assistance, HUD has an online service that helps you find privately owned properties with reduced rents.

HUD has an interactive map that helps you locate the public housing resources in your area.

If you are low-income, elderly, or disabled, you may qualify for public housing or a Housing Choice Voucher through the Section 8 program. Depending on your income and other eligibility requirements, you may qualify for the program to pay all or part of your monthly rent.

If you’re looking to purchase an affordable home, HUD might assist you through one of their homebuying programs.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) offers affordable housing resources and programs. You can find information on their site about the latest news in affordable housing along with information about grants and other funding sources.

Community and Nonprofit Organizations 

It’s not just the state and federal governments that are tackling the housing affordability issue. There are many nonprofits that have formed with the goal of offering Californians information and resources to access affordable housing.

The California Housing Partnership, for example, is a nonprofit organization that assists lower-income Californians in finding housing. They have an affordable housing map and benefits calculator that shows where affordable housing is in your community.

Housing California is another nonprofit that helps residents find budget-friendly accommodations. They have a resource directory that might assist you in finding your next rental.

Affordable Housing Listings

Affordable Housing Online offers the latest news on Section 8 Housing Voucher waitlists. It lets you know when new waitlists open, when they are scheduled to close, and provides details on how to apply.

The site offers a variety of low-income housing guides for renters. These include a public housing guide, Section 8 guide, and a low-income housing tax credit guide.

What do you think of these affordable housing resources in California?

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I'm a writer specializing in affordable housing, alternative housing, and innovative housing solutions. Follow me for the latest news on these important topics.

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