Affordable Housing, Simplified
Green River has long worked on software projects in social services and housing. When Housing Navigator Massachusetts, Inc. approached us to help build a platform for people to find affordable housing in Massachusetts, however, we were surprised to learn this: There was no central, public, accessible inventory of affordable housing units in the state.
In August 2021, Housing Navigator, a Cambridge-based nonprofit, launched The Housing Navigator. With a focus on data accuracy and coverage, the platform contains inventory amassed from public sources, research and outreach, and the support and cooperation of property owners and managers.
Green River worked with the Housing Navigator team on user research and application design—and of course provided engineering and development services—to create a platform that:
- Provides a free search tool and comprehensive listing inventory—at launch, Housing Navigator featured 160,000 affordable rentals across 267 Massachusetts cities and towns;
- Creates a smooth user experience for desktop and mobile users alike;
- Enables search filtering by location, number of bedrooms, eligibility, affordability, accessibility, “pet-friendly,” and more;
- Enriches listings with photos, amenities descriptions, and maps indicating nearby transit;
- Incentivizes owners and managers to keep property information up-to-date and earn a “verified listing” icon for their listings.
And now it’s live! The site, in short, delivers to affordable housing renters—and property owners and managers—an online experience long enjoyed by users of market-rate platforms like Apartments.com and Trulia.
We are proud to be part of this initiative—and are eager to track its impact—while we already look forward to crafting planned features to broaden the scope of listings (to lotteries and “first come, first serve” units, for example), and extend and enrich the functionality available to users.