"I started looking on Google mainly. It led me to some of the realtor websites, but it also led me to random places," DeCicco said. "Some of those places ask you to like pay to look at some of the listings. So I got really frustrated really quickly."
That all changed with a new tool launched by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks and the city of Springfield.
"I found more in two days of using this website than I did in two months," he said.
The database was soft-launched in January. Anyone can search for rental properties based on a wide range of factors-- price, location, amenities, and accessibility features. They can even input vouchers for low-income families and veterans.
There are 2,900 listings so far on the website, and many houses that are for sale or are currently in repair, will soon be added to the online database.
Will Carter of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks said the tool adds value to the existing services that the Springfield Affordable Housing Center provides.
"It fills a gap in service. The housing service provides so much of what this does, but this provides that 24/7 access, and that's the thing that's important," Carter said. "We can provide services to people from nine to five Monday through Friday, but what happens outside of those hours? That's where we wanted to fill in the gap."
The website will also be used to list emergency housing in the case of a disaster.
"We could spin this up and quickly have disaster response ready to start housing people immediately," Carter said.
For those on a tight budget, looking for housing is a bit easier with the help of the new website.
"I am just overjoyed, and most importantly, I am not stressed out about it anymore," DeCicco said.
Carter said given the opportunity and additional funding, the organization would like to expand its listing services to other counties within the region.
Link to housing website: http://theaffordablehousingcenter.org/
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