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What Is a Housing Locator Anyway?

Good question! There are several types of housing locators. Which housing locator is best for you?

Types of Housing Locators:

Human Housing Locators
Humans are the original housing locators, from caseworkers helping people transition away from homelessness to college students seeking off-campus apartments to employees in corporate relocation programs. Human housing locators often use Internet housing locators to search for housing.
Internet Housing Locators
Our Model: Since 1999, Socialserve.com and the Emphasys Housing Locator have set the standard for Internet housing locators amongst literally tens of thousands of websites, listing everything from apartments to mobile homes to duplexes and single-family units, including Section 8 and accessible properties, assisted living facilities, market-rate housing and more. Internet housing locators can be managed or unmanaged:

Unmanaged Internet Housing Locators - The most common housing locator model

  • Little to no human support
  • Repeated and out-of-date listings
  • May require landlords to subscribe to a pay service and even pay extra for "preferred listings," meaning that search results can be skewed by how much a landlord pays to list, not by how well a listing matches a housing-seeker's needs
  • Searchers are frequently asked to input personal information, which can be shared for marketing purposes and compromise personal security and Fair Housing rights

Other unmanaged housing locators on the Internet include static and aggregator housing locators.

A static housing locator is usually a PDF or spreadsheet of housing listings that is shared online but rarely updated.

Aggregators scrape and spread around listings from a wide variety of other web-based housing listings. Information is neither validated nor updated, meaning that searchers waste time browsing already-rented or otherwise inaccurate listings. We refer to this as the "garbage-in, garbage-out" model.


Emphasys Housing Locator Is the Other Kind, a Managed Internet Housing Locator.

  • Listings are monitored by human eyes for accuracy and Fair Housing compliance
  • Listings are updated continuously to ensure that information is current
  • Live, free, human support is available by toll-free phone, email, fax and mail through the nonprofit Socialserve.com call center
  • People can search for housing anonymously and always for free
  • We offer free training and support to agencies
  • Updated listings mean excellent housing data and comprehensive reporting options

Emphasys Housing Locator is the cure for the common housing locator, and since 1999, we have grown to offer software solutions across the housing continuum. For more about what we do, please visit EmphasysHLS.com Opens new browser window.

We'd love to hear from you! Contact us by email or phone at 1-877-428-8844.

Socialserve is a national 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and a certified Section 3 and Second Chance employer.
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