In this paper we explore the role played by policy instruments on the access to housing finance of low-income households. We also analyze the impact of housing credit and subsidies on the quality of life and the quality of dwelling of the beneficiaries. Using the Quality of Life Surveys conducted in Colombia in 2003 and 2008, we find that policy instruments aimed at easing access of low-income households to affordable housing such as subsidies and guaranteed loans have played a modest role in increasing the use of mortgage as a source of funding. Despite this, we show that subsidies have had a significant impact on both the quality of dwelling and the quality of life. Therefore, this paper suggests promoting the use of both instruments by improving their design and targeting.