Resources to assist you in finding housing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Searching for Housing in the Bay Area

Prepare Yourself

  • Know what type of housing you’re looking for
  • Write a housing ad and distribute it to friends, co-workers, family, church/temple members and casual acquaintances
  • Write a housing resume
  • Know your credit history/status
  • Identify your resources – How much savings do you have? How much can you afford each month
  • Make a housing search schedule
  • Have a housing back-up plan if you’re at risk of becoming homeless

Your Credit History

Credit Reporting Agencies:

You may order your credit report online free. They will offer you ongoing credit checks for a fee

Equifax Credit Information Services,Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374

You may order your credit report online, by phone or through the US mail. Cost starts: $9.00

TransUnion – True Credit

You may order your credit report online.

How to Write Your Housing Ad

Your ad will be more interesting and effective if you write accurately about who you are, in detail, and in your own style. Be personable.
Below you will find a list of things you might write about yourself. These are guidelines. Be creative, and use your humor. Some of the more personal items may only be appropriate for a shared housing ad.

Describe yourself:
Name, gender, age,spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, hobbies, interests, occupation, parent status…

Describe your living habits:
Do you smoke/drink? What are your housekeeping standards? Are you a vegetarian/omnivore? Do you get up/go to bed early/late? Do you have pets? Do you play loud music/instruments/TV? Do you
have lots of visitors/overnight guests?

Describe your housing needs:
Where do you want to live? Do you want to live alone/with others? Do you have children.
Full-time? Part-time? Are you willing to live with children? How much can you afford? Do you need parking/to be near public transportation? Do you need to be downstairs/need wheelchair access? Are you allergic to any animals? Do you/Don’t you want carpet? Do you want to share/have separate food? Do you want a quiet house?

Provide reliable contact information:
Offer a good phone number that has an answering machine or voice mail. Provide an e-mail address if you have one. Work number?

How to Write Your Housing Resume

A housing resume is a list of the places you’ve lived before. It should include dates and contact information so potential landlords or housemates can speak with people who have lived with or rented to you before. A housing resume might look like this:

Jane Doe

1234 Average St.
Big City, CA 90000
[email protected]

March 2001 – Present
1234 Average St.
Big City, CA 90000
Owner: Jeffrey Jones (510-567-5678)

January 1999 – February 2001
4321 Old Ave.
Little Town, CA 90000
Property Manager: Smith Huts, Inc.(408-777-7777)

August 1997 – December 1998
UC Dormitory
Santa Cruz, CA 90000
Roommate: Anita Student (408-321-4321)

You might also include the name of your employer and the amount of your gross monthly income.

See this online example: Sample_Tenants_Resume.htm

Where to Look for Housing in the Bay Area

Your Address Book – Call or e-mail everyone you know. Let them know what you’re looking for or send them your housing ad. As is true with job hunting, a lot of it is whom you know.

On-Line Community Bulletin Boards –
The Bay Area is very computer savvy. There are many on-line resources. Post your ad, respond to other people’s ads, and respond
to phone calls and e-mails quickly. When you’re talking with someone, be prepared to schedule an interview immediately. Housing
goes fast! – Try

Newspapers – There are many free weekly newspapers and well as low-cost daily papers.

Public & Non-Profit Services

Contra Costa County Homeless Program Emergency Shelter Program for Families
597 Center Avenue, #355
Martinez, CA 94553
Main office telephone: (925) 313-6145
Homeless Hotline: 800-808-6444

The Emergency Shelter Program for Families located in Concord and Martinez is designed to meet the immediate shelter needs of parents and their children over a 120-day period. Both 25-bed shelters offer year-round, 24- hour support services that include housing search assistance, budgeting and life skills training, case management, health screenings by Health Care for the Homeless, information and referrals to mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and vocational training or job placement.

Rubicon Programs Incorporated
2500 Bissell Avenue
Richmond, California, 94804
(510) 235-1516

Rubicon Programs Incorporated operates transitional housing, which is linked to Rubicon’s Integrated Services, as well as permanent housing sites for people with disabilities, low-income families, and those with special needs. Permanent Housing: Four of Rubicon’s permanent residences provide housing for people with disabilities. Two additional sites house low-income families and offer six units for people with special needs.

Pittsburg Family Center

SHELTER, Inc. of Contra Costa County
1815 Arnold Drive
Martinez, CA 94553
Phone: (925) 335-0698

The mission of SHELTER, Inc. is to help homeless and low-income Contra Costans obtain economic self- sufficiency, to sustain permanent housing, to promote innovative homeless prevention programs and to enhance human dignity.

Building Opportunities for Self- Sufficiency
2065 Kittredge Street, Suite E
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-649-0627 Fax
E-mail: [email protected]
BOSS program participants are 100% poor, 70% homeless, 30% housed. They are all races, ages, backgrounds, and life experiences. They have multiple barriers to self-sufficiency: 50% have mental disabilities or dual diagnosis (mental disability plus drug or alcohol addiction), 5-10% have HIV/AIDS and a larger percentage are at high risk, 80% have drug or alcohol problems, 25% have below a High School education, 70% are unemployed. Approximately 40% are families with children.

Eden I& R
(510) 537-2552

Eden I& R (Information & Referral) is a 501(c)(3) non profit agency committed to serving as a link between Alameda County families and individuals, and the full range of community resources available to them. Eden I& R is well known as THE source of information on, and referral to, low-cost housing, emergency shelter, and over 1,270 social service agencies for Alameda County Residents.

Homeless Action Center
2500 Martin Luther King Way, Suite #1
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-540-0403 Fax

Homeless Action Center has been providing legal services to homeless and low-income residents of Alameda County since 1990. HAC’s primary service is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) advocacy for mentally disabled members of our community who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, described below. HAC also provides free legal advice and referral at off-site legal clinics open to low-income or homeless individuals.

Housing Rights, Inc.
P.O. Box 12895
Berkeley, CA 94712
Street Address:
1966 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
510-548-5805 Fax
E-mail: [email protected]

Our Goals , with your help, are to eliminate discrimination in housing, prevent evictions and encourage diversity in our communities. We do this by assisting tenants and landlord to understand their rights and responsibilities and resolve problems, so that EVERYONE will have a real opportunity to live in decent, affordable housing wherever it may be located.

Housing Authority of the County of Contra Costa
3133 Estudillo Street
Martinez, California 94533
925-372-0236 Fax
E-Mail: [email protected]
Rental Listings:

ECHO Housing
1305 Franklin Street, #305
Oakland, CA 94612
Shared Housing Program
Rental Assistance Program
Home Conversion Counseling Program

Emeryville Affordable Housing Resource List housing-affordable.html

Oakland Housing Authority
1619 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA 94612
510-874-1674 Fax

San Francisco Housing Authority
440 Turk Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Private & For Profit Service


Homefinders receives new leads from East Bay landlords throughout the day, every day. You may retrieve your new listings in our office, by phone, fax, email or via the web (which includes online mapping and some photos). Maps, computer use for applications and resumes, and free local phone use are available in our lobby. Most of our customers find a rental in the first couple weeks to a month. If you need more time, we offer free extensions. If you do not find a place through our service we offer a partial money back guarantee on the Regular and Super Search Subscriptions listed below. All subscriptions are active for 60 days, with the option to renew for an additional 30 consecutive days at no extra charge. Cost: $75.


MetroRent is the Bay Area and Los Angeles’ premier rental and roommate listing service. For over 20 years, we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of tenants and landlords time and money in their search for quality housing and tenants. Free preview of Premium Listings. $35 – $50 – receive complete address and contact information for ALL matching listings.


eHousing is the SF East Bay’s premier rental service providing you with over 2500 available places to choose from. People who use eHousing generally save $50-$100 each month on their rent because of the enormous selection of apartments, houses and rooms available through us. We have new listings hourly and are open 7 days a week. You can preview all vacancies for free with a free search. eHousing does all the research and legwork for you, saving you countless hours of driving around in circles. We organize your lists of availabilities so all you have to do is to call the places that you are interested in. You can pick up printouts or receive INSTANT email updates. Using your custom search criteria, you can also receive new listings through your account on our website. Rental Search, $75. Room Search, $35.

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