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In spite of everything, affordable housing can still be found throughout New York. In spite of everything, affordable housing can still be found throughout New York.
Updated 4/26/2021 to include new lotteries in Midtown West, the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Long Island City, Flushing, and the Bronx.

Under the de Blasio administration, New York City has rolled out several new affordable housing initiatives (for more details, see the mayor’s latest housing plan, Housing New York 2.0). In September 2019, the city reported that 136,912 new affordable units had been built through both new construction and refurbishment of existing units, and that it was nearly halfway to the goal of 300,000 set in Housing New York 2.0.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic may keep that goal from being achieved. The State of New York deemed construction of affordable housing to be an essential function, but Bisnow reports that 34 affordable projects with a total of 6,900 units were paused by developers. Additional projects throughout the city are experiencing slowdowns owing to a diminished construction labor force and a slowdown in the supply chain.

At the same time, there is reason for optimism; Multi-Housing News cites increased demand, the stability of affordable housing as an investment, and cities' emphasis on affordable development as a means of public safety. Indeed, building sites all over New York have reopened with new protocols in place to keep workers safe and keep construction going.

Through it all, there is a large number of programs throughout the city and state. This is good news for people seeking affordable housing, but each has its own rules and restrictions to navigate. This article focuses on New York City and New York State programs designed to assist renters.
New York-CIyt-housing-3 City initiatives to boost and preserve NYC's affordable housing

• NYC rental listings under $1,600/month


• NYC Housing Connect Lotteries

If you’re interested in an affordable housing unit, the first thing to do is visit the NYC Housing Connect website and find out if you qualify and more specifically, find out if you qualify for any current housing lotteries (different lotteries may have different types of units available). Next, apply on the NYC Housing Connect website by opening an account. Then you just have to wait and see if your number is called. If it is, you’ll then be asked to compile hundreds of pages of paperwork,and undergo an interview. If the paperwork is too daunting, reach out to an NYC Housing Ambassador or contact a Ready to Rent Office in your borough. If your paperwork and interview check out, you may still find yourself waiting and you may never even be granted a unit. This is because NYC housing lotteries select more applicants than there are available units. While this may sound unfair, there are two reasons this is generally done: First, many people are disqualified once they submit their paperwork, and second, the process is so onerous, many New Yorkers drop out of the process before ever gaining access to a unit.

The benefits of entering a housing lottery are fairly obvious—if you “win," you’ll end up with an affordable or reasonably affordable rent stabilized apartment in New York City. Also, many of the available units are highly desirable. Housing lottery units are often housed in swank new mixed-income buildings with appealing amenities from state-of-the-art gyms to roof-top decks to game rooms. The downside of the housing lottery system is that much is left up to chance, the paperwork is onerous, and if you’re in the top 25% percent of eligible applicants, you may still end up paying close to market rent for your unit.

More information and a list of past lotteries can be found here.
NYC-affordable-housing-04
If you have any questions related to the following lotteries, please direct them to Housing Connect. CityRealty is not affiliated with affordable housing lotteries and cannot offer assistance in this regard.

188-Humboldt-Street-01
188 Humboldt is a new boutique residential building with amenities such as bike rooms, a co-working space, gym, a package room, parking, floor-to-ceiling windows, laundry room, residents lounge with fireplace, private party room with an outdoor terrace, and a green roof with communal garden and unobstructed Manhattan skyline views. Currently offering one month free rent for new residents.
188-Humboldt-Street-02

45-07-48th-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include intercom, elevator, roof terrace, bike room, and garage parking ($200/month).
45-07-48th-Avenue-02

1545-Bergen-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Units come equipped with a dishwasher and washer/dryer available.
1545-Bergen-Street-02

2494-Amsterdam-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. This building is smoke free, has energy efficient appliances, security cameras, an accessible entrance and outdoor terrace.
2494-Amsterdam-Avenue-02

505-West-43rd-Street-01
This building is being constructed through the Inclusionary Housing Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Eligible buyers must have 10% of the purchase price available for down payment. EACH BUYER MUST OCCUPY THEIR CO-OP APARTMENT AS THEIR PRIMARY RESIDENCE.. ANY PROSPECTIVE APPLICANT WHO CURRENTLY OWNS OR PREVIOUSLY HAS PURCHASED A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IS INELIGIBLE.
505-West-43rd-Street-02

56-Ainslie-Street-01
This building is being constructed through the Inclusionary Housing Program and is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421-a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. This newly constructed smoke-free building offers many amenities including covered parking, bike storage Lockers, media room, gym, rooftop terrace, and many more. Amenity fees may apply.
56-Ainslie-Street-02

38-35-Crescent-Street-01
Newly constructed, this is a chance to be one of the first to enjoy CRESCENT Tower, a stunning building complete with a host of amenities and an incredible location just moments from everything this vibrant region has to offer. A stylish lobby welcomes you home and there is an elevator to whisk you to your floor. An on-site laundry and a parking garage are available and there is a beautiful roof deck where you can sip a cool drink as you take in the twinkling lights of the New York City skyline. This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
38-35-Crescent-Street-02

1044-Bedford-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a-16 Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Apartments feature central air conditioning, high-end kitchen appliances and finishes, and in-unit washer/dryers. Amenities include virtual doorman, recycling center, gym, bike storage lockers, and rooftop terrace.
1044-Bedford-Avenue-02

103-43-120th-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Tenant is responsible for Electricity and Gas. (including electricity, gas stove and heat ).
103-43-120th-Street-02

186-Greenpoint-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a-16 Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include rooftop terrace and intercom.
186-Greenpoint-Avenue-02

495-St-Johns-Place-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include virtual doorman, elevator, gym, storage, recreation room, central laundry room (for additional fee), and roof deck. Currently offering 2 months free for the two-bedroom apartments!
495-St-Johns-Place-02

249-North-5th-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. This newly constructed luxury apartment building located at 249 North 5th Street (aka 70 Havemeyer Street) features an explicable gymnasium, car garages(fees apply), bike storage lockers, recreation room, outdoor areas, and noticeably more conveniences. Individual apartments offer high-end kitchen appliances as well as dishwashers in unit. Air conditioning and multiple pets are allowed
70-Havemeyer-Street-02

1528-Bergen-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Pets are welcome, and amenities include intercom, private balconies, in-unit washer/dryers, and rooftop terrace.
1528-Bergen-Street-02

30-82 Crescent Street, Astoria
30-82-Crescent-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include elevator, laundry room, gym, storage, and roof terrace.
30-82-Crescent-Street-02

40-Debevoise-Street-01
Individuals or households that have at least one household member who is 62 years of age or older at the time of application and meet the income and household size. Eligible applicants must qualify for Section 8 and will pay 30% of their household income in rent.
40-Debevoise-Street-02

200-Clifton-Place-01
The building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include bike room, shared laundry room, and rooftop terrace.
200-Clifton-Place-02

16-Bartlett-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. EACH BUYER MUST OCCUPY THE CONDO APARTMENT AS THEIR PRIMARY RESIDENCE. ANY PROSPECTIVE APPLICANT WHO CURRENTLY OWNS OR PREVIOUSLY HAS PURCHASED A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IS INELIGIBLE. Eligible buyers may have 10% of the purchase price available for a down payment. Larger down payments may allow for lower minimum incomes.
16-Bartlett-Street-02

545-St-Marks-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Apartments feature in-unit washer/dryer and central air, and the building features a bike room and shared roof deck.
545-St-Marks-Avenue-02

Washington Manor, East Tremont
1969-Washington-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include an underground garage, security cameras, intercoms, and an elevator.
1969-Washington-Avenue-02

703-Hart-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include elevator, roof terrace, bike room, and parking (for additional fee).
703-Hart-Street-02

1250-New York-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. No amenity fees except washer/dryer.
1250-New-York-Avenue-02

22-44-Jackson-Avenue-01
Create your life in the building of your dreams. 5 Pointz stands out in the heart of a Long Island City neighborhood buzzing with culture. The building boasts near-countless amenities-- from a refreshing splash in the indoor pool, to the state-of-the-art fitness center, to scenic views at the Sky Lounge. Experience big city features without the downside. Offers: $750 gym and amenities membership voucher for each adult (limit 2 per household). 6 free months of high-speed internet from RCN. Tenant responsible for electricity. Rent includes heat, hot water, and cooking gas.
22-44-Jackson-Avenue-02

1074-Washington-Avenue-01
This building is being constructed through the Senior Affordable Rental Apartments Program (SARA) of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and financed under Article XV of the New York Private Housing Finance Law. Individuals or households that have at least one household member who is 62 years of age or older and who meet the income and household size requirements listed below. Eligible applicants must qualify for Section 8 and will pay 30% of their household income in rent.
1074-Washington-Avenue-02

555-Grand-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include elevator and card-based laundry room.
555-Grand-Street-02

1255-Bedford-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a-16 Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include card-based laundry room, intercom, bike room, private balconies, and rooftop terrace.
1255-Bedford-Avenue-02

379-Harman-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The building is pet-friendly, and amenities include elevator, bike room, garage, and roof terrace.
379-Harman-Street-02

336-338-East-28th-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include split units for heating & cooling, a coin-operated laundry room, and rooftop access.
336-338-East-28th-Street-02

96-New-Lots-Avenue-01
Ebenezer Plaza Phase 1 North is a newly constructed 106 unit residential project located in the Brownsville (CB #16) section of Brooklyn, NY. The property will complete construction on its first phase in the Summer of 2021. All units in the project will be subject to Rent stabilization. Project amenities include a rooftop terrace, community lounge, bicycle storage, and on-site laundry. Amenities are available to all building residents. Ebenezer Plaza is a smoke-free building.
96-New-Lots-Avenue-02

2724 Heath Avenue, Kingsbridge Heights
2724-Heath-Avenue-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a(16) Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Amenities include fitness center, central laundry room, and intercom.
2724-Heath-Avenue-02

82-41-Parsons-Boulevard-01
Welcome to the T Building, a newly converted 10-story architectural gem, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1938, the T Building was a cutting-edge hospital to treat, heal and restore ailing New Yorkers before this complete restoration and conversion into affordable apartments. The T Building residence will have many amenities for residents to enjoy including a 24-hour attended front desk, restored library and computer room, community room, tv room, restored auditorium community room, outdoor sun terraces, laundry room, gymnasium, playground, parking lot (fee will apply) and private balconies (for select units).

This building is being constructed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program and Supportive Housing Loan Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. On-site social services will be available to all tenants who choose to participate in them.
82-41-Parsons-Boulevard-02

145-West-108th-Street-01
This newly constructed property in Manhattan Valley (CB #7) consists of 198 units of affordable housing. These units feature GE appliances, engineered stone countertops, luxury vinyl tile flooring, and more. This building is being constructed through the Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP) of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Supportive housing is permanent, affordable housing with on-site support services to serve the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including the formerly homeless and disabled. Sixty percent of units in supportive housing are set aside for low income or formerly homeless individuals or families with special needs, who are referred by city agencies. The remaining forty percent of units in the building are made available to the public through lottery.
145-West-108th-Street-02

972 Washington Avenue, Morrisania
972-Washington-Avenue-01
This building is being constructed through the Supportive Housing Loan Program of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal. Supportive housing is permanent, affordable housing with on-site support services to serve the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including the formerly homeless and disabled. 41 units in supportive housing are set aside for low income or formerly homeless individuals or families with special needs, who are referred by city agencies. The remaining units in the building are made available to the public through lottery.
972-Washington-Avenue-02

650-West-42nd-Street-01
This building is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Residents arrive at their home through a private driveway, where a concierge awaits to greet visitors and attend to residents’ needs around the clock. River Place provides residents with a range of amenities including concierge services, fitness center with outdoor tennis, indoor basketball courts, 75’ indoor swimming pool, and a valet parking garage. In addition, the complimentary shuttle bus service quickly connects our residents to major subway lines. River Place is rent stabilized, which guarantees the right of lease renewal and protects you from steep rent increases.
650-West-42nd-Street-02

1402-York-Avenue-01
Applications are now available for 10 affordable studio cooperative apartments. EACH BUYER MUST OCCUPY THE COOPERATIVE APARTMENT AS THEIR PRIMARY RESIDENCE. ANY PROSPECTIVE APPLICANT WHO CURRENTLY OWNS OR PREVIOUSLY HAS PURCHASED A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IS INELIGIBLE.
1402-York-Avenue-02

The lotteries run through Housing Connect are perhaps the city's best-known resource for affordable housing, and it shows: An article in The New York Times noted that the odds of securing an affordable apartment through a housing lottery are one in 592. This is daunting, but it is also not the only option in town. There are several programs to help renters on low and fixed incomes, not to mention other options for middle-income New Yorkers who might need help finding adequate housing.

• NYCHA Developments

Income restrictions are generally lower than they are for affordable housing programs, but they do include a wide range of New Yorkers (e.g., a family of four can have a household income up to $83,450). There are also a few other requirements to apply for a NYCHA unit. First, you must meet NYCHA’s definition of family, which is either a single person or “Two or more persons related by blood, marriage, domestic partnership, adoption, guardianship, or court awarded custody.” In addition, your admission to a public housing development cannot endanger the welfare and safety of other residents. Finally, you and your co-applicant (spouse or domestic partner, if any) must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor. To apply, visit the NYCHA website.
NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) aims to provide “decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs.” NYCHA also happens to be the largest public housing program in the United States. Since its inception, the program has created more than developments across the city’s five boroughs. In fact, NYCHA units currently represent 8% of the city’s rental apartments. To find out where NYCHA buildings are located, consult the city’s downloadable map or interactive map. Notably, NYCHA has different types of units for different demographics (e.g., some NYCHA buildings are for seniors exclusively).
So, what do you get if you qualify for a NYCHA unit? The average NYCHA unit rents for $522 per month, making it the most affordable way for families to live in New York City. However, many NYCHA developments are also in disrepair and in some cases, the buildings have even been deemed dangerous. In July 2018, reports surfaced that when tested, 820 children under six living in NYCHA units had elevated levels of lead in their blood. While the city currently has expressed many good intentions about repairing NYCHA buildings, but there is a lot of work to be done and deep federal cuts to NYCHA’s capital budget aren’t helping matters.
via nyc.gov
Smith-Houses-04 A vision of new infill development at the Smith House in lower Manhattan

• Section 8

NYCHA not only oversees a large part of New York City’s rental housing but also administers the Section 8 program. There are currently approximately 90,000 Section 8 homes in New York City and over 29,000 owners participate in the program.

Section 8 is a voucher program that offers assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income families (income restrictions can be found here) who are struggling to pay rent on the private market. For example, if you’re a family of four living on up to $52,150, you are eligible for Section 8 assistance. But qualifying for Section 8 doesn’t mean that you won’t pay any rent at all. The program is simply designed to ensure families don’t pay more than 40% of their adjusted monthly income toward their rent. NYCHA pitches in the remaining amount on the family’s behalf and owners receive what is known as a Housing Assistance Payment directly for the authority. You can learn more about Section 8 and apply on the NYCHA website.
(CityRealty)

• Mitchell-Lama Rentals

Mitchell-Lama is a housing program for both renters and buyers in New York State. Currently, to qualify for a Mitchell-Lama rental unit, depending on your family size, the income cut-offs range from $53,450 to $100,750. While rentals do become available in Mitchell-Lama buildings from time to time, the waitlists tend to be long. You can find a list of open Mitchell-Lama waitlists and check the status of current waitlists online.

If you do acquire a Mitchell-Lama rental, the rewards can be great. Most Mitchell-Lama units rent for $1000 to $2000 per month and this includes units large enough to house an entire family. However, simply getting a Mitchell-Lama takes many tenants years and even more than a decade.
Averne-View-03 Arverne View, a Mitchell-Lama development in Far Rockaway that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy

• Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE)

Currently, seniors are among the city’s most vulnerable residents. Indeed, over the coming years, the population of elderly New Yorkers is expected to increase dramatically. One program designed to directly assist the city’s elders is the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program. This program ensures that income-eligible people over 62 years of age who live in rent controlled or rent stabilized apartments are exempt from future rental increases.

Affordable Housing Programs for the Middle Class

In most cities, middle-class households don’t actually need assistance to rent a home. In fact, in most cities, middle-class families are more likely to own than rent. But New York City is an exception to the rule. Many middle-class families, including those making above $100,000 per year, struggle to find adequate housing. To help out, the city has recently ramped up its affordable housing program. These units are distributed through housing lotteries. While income restrictions still do apply, in the case of affordable housing, households can make up to $182,655 annually and still qualify. Another longstanding form of relief for renters is rent stabilization, which applies to approximately one million apartments in the city (find more information below).
Pacific Park's middle income affordable building, 535 Carlton (https://535carlton.com)
Income bands at 535 Carlton Avenue

• Rent Stabilization

Although New York has lost much of its rent stabilized apartment stock in recent years, these units do still exist, especially outside Manhattan. First and foremost, unlike other affordable housing programs, you don’t have to meet any special income requirements to rent a rent stabilized unit. If you work on Wall Street but don’t want to spend all your money on rent, you too can benefit from this program. How cheap are these units? While most rent stabilized units aren’t dirt cheap, they are priced well under market value because owners are not permitted to raise rents on such units above allowable annual thresholds (usually 1.5% to 2.5%). While some listings indicate that the unit is rent stabilized, the best rent stabilized units are often passed along via word of mouth or acquired by simply calling an owner directly to ask about availabilities. You can search for rent stabilized units on NYC Rent Guidelines Board website. If you think your current unit is rent stabilized but not being treated as a rent stabilized unit, you can also consult the city’s guidelines online.
Rent-Stabilized-Apartments-03 Published in May 2018 by the NYC Rent Guidelines Board
Navigating New York’s available programs for renters may not be easy, but many of these programs do offer considerable relief to renters. In addition, given the current administration’s stated commitment to building more affordable housing for New Yorkers, there is hope that moving forward, new programs targeting people living on low, fixed and middle incomes will be established.

Additional Info About the Building