Step by step

Understand the rental process

How to find and apply for a rental through San Francisco's affordable housing lottery.

Find affordable housing based on your income and other factors. For most listings, you get housing through a lottery on DAHLIA San Francisco Housing Portal

For a small number of rentals, we review applications in the order they come in


Browse listings

Find listings of apartments for rent in San Francisco. New listings get added every day.

Find affordable rental housing on DAHLIA

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Check eligibility

Every building has different requirements for who is eligible to live there. 

Eligibility for housing programs run by the City

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Prepare to apply

On the lottery application, we ask about:

  • Your income
  • Who you will live with

We also ask questions to find out if you qualify for any housing lottery preference programs. If you do, you will need to show documentation.

What you need to apply

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Enter the lottery




15 minutes

Apply online before the deadline. 

For most listings, you are entering a lottery to apply for open units in an apartment building.

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The lottery determines who gets to apply for a unit first. 

How the affordable housing lottery works

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Get your results

Usually, you can check your results online right after the lottery. Check the listing where you applied to find out when results will be available. 

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Applicants are contacted until all units are filled


Several weeks to months

In order of the lottery results, a representative from the building contacts applicants about renting a unit. They will contact applicants until all units are filled.

If you get contacted, you will need to fill out a more detailed application. 

What to expect after the lottery

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After you move in

Every year, we will ask for proof that you are living in the apartment and that you are still eligible. 

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Last updated March 8, 2024