Welcome to The Journey
A news magazine created to connect, inform & inspire
Issue: Fall 2021, News for the Journey Home
Nathan Brunet
Content Director, Affordable Housing Online

For almost 20 years, Affordable Housing Online has helped low-income renters find information on housing opportunities. Now, it's become an important tool for families of adults with I/DD.

Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur and affordable housing developer David Layfield, who recognized there was very little information online about how to find and apply for affordable housing, it now serves as a one-stop resource for Section 8 housing waitlists in the U.S. David was inspired to create this resource when he saw just how scarce information was for the people most in need of affordable housing, like persons with disabilities. It was important for David to make his website accessible to anyone, even if they were not familiar with affordable housing programs.

David got his start in affordable housing working for real estate developers, then moved on to manage a federal housing program in Washington, D.C. He recognized a huge unmet need for easy-to-access information, so he built the first version of Affordable Housing Online on his own time. It was the first site with up-to-date, nationwide listings of affordable units.

Over the years, David put together a team to improve the website and make it easier for users to find and understand these housing programs. The team continues to grow to provide renters with waiting list updates, guides to help renters understand the different programs and find opportunities that are best for them, a current event blog with news important to low-income renters, and updated rental listings of affordable housing opportunities.

“I’m all too familiar with how difficult it is to understand the complicated layers of finding suitable affordable housing — in particular, Section 8 housing — so I’ve directed my team to write information that is easy to read for any renter,” David explains. “In many cases, information that was once only available by researching many different sources is now available on one of our pages.”

Taking the first step toward Section 8

The first step in securing Section 8 housing is to get on the waitlist with the housing authority in your area. Affordable Housing Online helps families manage this process by providing:

  • a searchable list of open waiting lists by state;
  • notices of waitlists that are opening soon (most housing authorities give a 30-day notice);
  • live links to applications and instructions on how to apply; and
  • information on how people will be chosen for each list (every housing authority has its own process).

"Different offices have different systems, and public notices are often missing important details for applicants,” David continues. His team thoroughly researches the needed information and writes organized instructions on how to apply for each list. “We find we are often the only online source for this information.”

Today David continues to lead the Affordable Housing Online team, while also focusing on building new affordable developments. Over a career of more than 30 years, David has built 45 affordable apartment communities with 2,000 apartment units on the East Coast. His efforts have been recognized by his peers; he's been named the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing's (CARH) Member of the Year, and National Affordable Housing Management Association's (NAHMA) Affordable Housing Advocate of the Year. Both organizations represent leaders in the affordable housing industry.

Affordable Housing Online is updated every day to make the search for affordable housing easier and less stressful. To get started understanding the voucher programs for people with disabilities, read their guide here.

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