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How to Use This Site is designed to provide easily accessible information on a broad range of state and local housing policy tools. To ensure that you get the most out of your visit, please take a moment to review this brief guide to the site or watch our brief demo. If you still have questions about how to use the site, please email us.

Please note: To best navigate this site and access external resources, we suggest that you disable your pop-up blocker. Click here for a guide to disabling common pop-up blockers.

Major sections of the site
Special icons
A to Z Search
Clickable Map of Examples by State

Major sections of the site
Most of the content in this site can be found in one of five places: the Getting Started, Toolbox, Building a Strategy, Forum, and Gallery of Affordable Homes sections. Use the colored tabs at the top of the page to get to each of these sections.

Getting Started
Click on Getting Started for answers to basic questions about affordable housing -- what it is, who needs it, and why it's important. Getting Started is a good place to begin your exploration of if you're new to the housing world or what a refresher. In this section you'll find answers to questions like:

- What is affordable housing?
- Why is affordable housing important?
- How can we increase housing options for working families?

Click on Toolbox for an overview of successful housing policies and examples of how they have been used to achieve key goals, including ensuring the availability of affordable homes, meeting the housing needs of older adults, and improving home resistance to natural disasters. The first page you'll see in the Toolbox section provides a portal to content in each of these areas, as well as the Key State Roles page - which provides special guidance on the unique contributions that states can make - and quick access to our A to Z Search page.

In general, content within each of the major goal areas in the Toolbox has been organized into "roles" and "policies."  Roles represent overarching categories, each of which reflects a distinct way that states and localities can make a difference, and policy pages describe specific actions within those roles. Click here for a complete list of the roles and the policies that are included on

Once you select a specific policy, you'll see a broad overview of the policy along with a case study of where it has been used effectively. To learn more, follow the links within the page or in the navigation box at the bottom of the page. These links will let you drill down to focus on the details of a specific policy. A "bread crumb trail" will appear at the top of each page to help you keep track of how far you have gone and navigate back to where you started.

In addition to using the navigation box at the bottom of the page to move to the next section, you may find it useful to reference the "Quick Links" box in the upper right corner of each policy page. Use this box to view an outline of the content provided for each policy.  At any time, you can select All Roles & Policies from the Quick Links box to jump to another part of the Toolbox.

Building a Strategy
Click on Building a Strategy to learn how to put individual policies together to form a comprehensive housing strategy. This section of the site contains information about why a comprehensive and strategic approach to housing policy is important, how to develop a housing strategy, and the housing strategies that other communities have adopted. Building a Strategy also provides resources on how your housing strategy can contribute to other key goals, such as smart growth, energy efficiency, reduced traffic congestion and efficient public transportation, educational achievement, improved health outcomes, and reductions in housing discrimination.

The Forum is the newest section of  This part of the site provides an interactive venue to post questions, share examples, and learn about the latest policy developments from your colleagues around the country. Discussions on the Forum are organized around five principle policy areas: Shared Equity Homeownership, Inclusionary Zoning, Foreclosure Prevention, Neighborhood Stabilization, and Rental Housing Preservation.  Click here to view a special guide to this section of the site.

Gallery of Affordable Homes
The Gallery of Affordable Homes showcases images of attractive, affordable homes, and is searchable by location and housing type. The purpose of the Gallery is to highlight affordable housing achievements from around the country and to help policymakers and the general public appreciate the quality and diversity of today's affordable homes.

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Special icons
These icons appear in the upper right corner of every page of

lightbulbClick on the lightbulb icon to submit feedback, ideas, or examples to help us improve and expand the coverage of

printerClick on the printer icon for the option to print either the current page or, in the Toolbox section, the entire policy section.

email icon Click on the envelope icon to email the page you are viewing to a friend or colleague.

You can sign up for updates of new content on at any time by clicking Join at the bottom of any page.

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A to Z Search
Visitors to are encouraged to use the menus provided throughout the site to access the full range of policy options reviewed on the site, and to consider how the different policy tools can be used together as part of a comprehensive housing strategy. But if you are in a hurry, or know exactly what you need, the A to Z Search page has a search box as well as a clickable list of policies and major topics. The A to Z Search page can be accessed from a link in the upper right corner of every page.

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Clickable Map of Examples by State
A Clickable Map of examples by state allows visitors to quickly find all of the examples from their area that are featured, or even just mentioned, on Click on a state to jump to a list of examples at both the state and local level.

The examples are divided into three categories: Highlighted Examples, Policy References, and Gallery Entries. "Highlighted examples" focus on a policy or program and provide at least some key details. These include case studies and housing plan profiles, as well as other substantive looks at a policy or program. "Policy references" include brief notes that a state or locality is involved in a policy. These references do not go into much detail. "Gallery entries" are images and brief descriptions of affordable or mixed-income homes that are well-designed places to call home.

State examples are in alphabetical order by policy. Local examples are listed alphabetically by city, town, or county. The Clickable Map can be accessed from the Home Page, the A to Z Search page, and the Quick Links box on the Toolbox home page.

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Glossary has an integrated Glossary to explain unfamiliar or complex terms. The first time a Glossary entry is used on a page, it is shown as a link. Click on the link to find its entry in the Glossary. You can also search the Glossary directly from a link in the upper right corner of every page.

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