As one of its first initiatives, the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA) unveiled a new online housing portal that centralizes housing listings for the nine-county Bay Area, streamlining the process for renters to find affordable housing. Known as “Doorway,” the portal guides apartment seekers through the process of searching for and applying for housing, with filters and a map-based interface to narrow down available options. The portal can be accessed on both desktop and mobile devices and is available in five languages—English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog. An exciting new feature is expected to be released in the spring of 2024, enabling renters to immediately determine eligibility for various apartments and to access a common application that allows them to apply for multiple listings directly through the portal.
Announced as a “first-of-its-kind” regional online portal, Doorway was created with pro bono support from Google Fellows and Exygy and builds on the success of the DAHLIA database, a San Francisco Housing Portal that was launched in 2016. As such, Doorway guides San Francisco housing seekers to continue to find San Francisco listings through DAHLIA. Google.org has granted $2.5 million to BAHFA to fund the management of the portal, and Exygy will continue to assist in implementation. Google.org has also pledged in-kind services to assist in outreach.
BAHFA was the first regional housing finance authority created in California. Established by AB 1487 in 2019, BAHFA works together with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to create regional solutions to address the Bay Area’s affordable housing needs. BAHFA received $20 million in State funding in FY 2021-22 to build the BAHFA team and to implement a series of pilot projects. In addition to Doorway, BAHFA is championing these projects:
- The Bay Area Affordable Housing Pipeline Project – a comprehensive inventory of affordable housing developments across the nine-county Bay Area.
- Preservation – assistance to community-based organizations and individual households to buy and rehabilitate existing market-rate homes.
- Anti-Displacement Services Network – creation of an action plan for long-term anti-displacement work focused on tenant protections.
- Homelessness Prevention – focus on long-term collaborative actions to protect Bay Area residents from losing their homes as a result of eviction, medical emergencies, and job loss.
- Potential Ballot Measure – BAHFA is exploring the potential for a $10 to $20 billion General Obligation Bond on the November 2024 ballot.