Learn how MOHCD runs affordable housing lotteries

Find out how the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development runs electronic lotteries.

Most lotteries for our affordable housing programs are now run electronically and are open to the public.

1. Running the lottery 

Visit the DAHLIA San Francisco Housing Portal for electronic lotteries.

All the lottery numbers are randomly sorted by running a program on random.org. Each applicant is assigned an "unfiltered" ranking between 1 and the total number of applicants. For example, in a lottery with 3,000 applicants, each applicant will be assigned a number between 1 and 3,000.

2. Filtering by preference

Preferences are used for all City-sponsored housing.

The lottery report is filtered by lottery preference category. Having a lottery preference improves your chances in a housing lottery. They give current and former San Francisco residents a better chance of living in the City.

Anyone who has a lottery preference is taken from the unfiltered list and sorted into a separate list.

Diagram showing the results of a filtered lottery list sorting out applicants into 2 preferences and one remaining lottery list.

Example: Maria has an "unfiltered" ranking of 5, and Robert has an "unfiltered" ranking of 8. They are both part of the same preference category. Maria and Robert have the highest "unfiltered" rankings of all other applicants in that preference. So, Maria would have a ranking of 1 and Robert would have a ranking of 2 in that preference category.

3. Posting

All lottery results are posted online to their listing no later than one week after the lottery.

4. After the lottery 

The sales agent, leasing agent, or MOHCD staff will start contacting households in lottery rank order, sorted by preference.

You must provide current or updated financial documents as soon as we ask for them. Otherwise, we may skip you and go to the next-ranked household in the lottery.

Last updated April 26, 2024