Finding affordable quality housing can be a long stressful process for even the most well-connected and well-financed person. But, what happens if you have a limited amount of time and resouces to spend on the search? What if in addition to navigating the search process, you also have to navigate the Section 8 process? Just contemplating the process makes me tense up! Over the past year Community Action Project of Tulsa County has partnered with the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Housing Authority, One Economy, and SocialServe.com to help alleviate some of that stress for Tulsa residents or those hoping to move to Tulsa. In April 2010, TulsaHousingSearch.org was launched as an alternative to other apartment search websites and paid apartment finder services.
TulsaHousingSearch.org allows users to search for both homes and apartments to rent. The site can perform a basic search based on the usual features such as number of bedrooms, rent per month, and zip code. The user can chose to perform a more advanced search based on more selective criteria such as Section 8 status, availability, handicap accessibility, and access to services such as shopping, public transportation, and hospital facilities. The advanced search provides a much more accurate picture of what the user really needs in an apartment. Users are encouraged to use the advanced options to reduce the number of items in the results, which should hep alleviate feeling overwhelmed by the number of options.
In addition to the search features, the site provides valuable information about what to look for when renting an apartment or home, possible scams, and community resources. The calculators provided in the Tenant Tools tab are also very useful. The first calculator uses family size, family income, and the number of bedrooms needed to determine the amount of rent the user can afford. The other helps the user calculate how much it will cost to actually move. In other words, it adds up utility deposits, application fees, and transportation costs associated with moving. Another great feature of the website is its availability in both Spanish and English. For those users who do not have access to the website, the toll-free, bilingual call center at 1-877-428-8844, is available M-F, 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Central Time.