Affordable housing has long been a topic at the forefront of NYC politics, but it gained even more attention with Mayor de Blasio’s plan to preserve or build 300,000 affordable units by 2026, which has resulted in a slew of new lotteries, a new more user-friendly web portal, and an update to ease the process for immigrants and low-income New Yorkers. But the topic is not without its issues, especially with the city reeling in the wake of the pandemic. Many still wonder if the city is doing enough for affordability and if some of the available units are really affordable. Ahead, we break down the different types of affordable housing programs, how you can qualify and apply, and what happens if and when you get in.
New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development
All images courtesy of NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, unless otherwise noted
A housing lottery opened this week for 127 middle-income apartments at a brand new rental tower in Greenpoint. Two Blue Slip, one half of a pair of luxury towers developed by Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group, is a 40-story building located on the waterfront at the northern end of the Brooklyn neighborhood. New Yorkers with combined household incomes between $81,258 and $192,400, or 130 percent of the area median income, can apply for the apartments, which start at $2,370/month studios, $2,542/month one-bedrooms, $3,063/month two-bedrooms, and $3,530/month three-bedrooms.
Photo © Julienne Schaer
The first two rentals at the five-building South Bronx complex La Central officially opened on Wednesday. The mixed-use towers, located at 556 and 600 Bergen Street in the borough’s Melrose neighborhood, contain 500 units of housing, a new YMCA, studio space for BronxNet, and a rooftop farm operated by GrowNYC.
Before lawmakers passed sweeping rent reform legislation in 2019, New York City renters moving to a new apartment paid a hefty lump sum, typically including an application fee, broker fee, and a security deposit. With the new law limiting application fees to $20 (and broker fees next on the chopping block), city officials are now looking to make it even easier to move into a new home. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Housing Development Corporation last week issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) seeking companies that would provide alternatives to paying a security deposit all at once at city-financed affordable properties.
Rendering courtesy of Marvel Architects/SCAPE Landscape Architects
The city’s proposed six-building residential development in Gowanus will be 100 percent affordable, officials announced last week. The Gowanus Green project, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s plan to rezone the Brooklyn neighborhood, will contain 950 units of affordable housing, with at least 50 percent designated to extremely low and very low-income households. Previously, the plan called for roughly 74 percent of units to fall below the market rate.
New York City’s highly competitive online affordable housing lottery system is getting a revamp to make applying for the income-restricted apartments easier. The city’s Housing Preservation and Development on Tuesday rolled out a new web portal that aims to be more user-friendly, allowing applicants to view available lotteries on their smartphones and upload required documents online.
The site of the proposed affordable senior housing building in Morrisania; Map data © 2020 Google
The city is looking to construct two affordable senior complexes with between 150 and 200 housing units each. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Friday released a request for proposals for two underused city-owned sites, one in the Bronx’s Morrisania neighborhood and the other in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. The developments fall under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s “Seniors First” housing program, which aims to serve 30,000 senior households by 2026 through the creation and preservation of affordable housing.
Via Creative Commons
New Yorkers applying for affordable housing no longer need to provide credit scores or social security numbers, making it easier for low-income and undocumented immigrant households to qualify, the city announced Wednesday. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development expanded the guidelines of its affordable housing lottery policy to allow applicants to show 12 months of positive rental history instead of a credit check run by a landlord. This erases the need for adult household members to provide a social security number or an individual tax identification number.
Previous rendering of the original project; Via NYCHA
The New York City Housing Authority has ditched plans to build a private 47-story apartment building on top of a playground on the Upper East Side, agency officials said Friday. The original plan called for a 300-unit tower to replace the playground at the Holmes Tower public housing complex with half of the units affordable and the other half at market-rate, the latter meant to raise funds for repairs at the tower. The new plan for the site will increase the number of market-rate apartments in order to collect more money, NYCHA officials told THE CITY.
“More with Less,” a winning entry by Palette Architecture
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) announced on Tuesday the selection of five New York City-based firms as finalists in the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC design competition for small-scale, urban infill housing. As 6sqft previously reported, the program was organized by HPD and AIANY as a way to address the challenges associated with the design and construction of affordable housing on 23 lots of underutilized city-owned land. First announced by the city last year, the program falls under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York 2.0 plan. The winning proposals were selected by a panel of nine jurors and evaluated on their design, replicability, and construction feasibility. The finalists will advance to the final stage of the program.