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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)


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 2/25/2021 to include new lotteries in Yorkville, Bushwick, Flatbush, Borough Park, Long Island City, Jamaica, 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.
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.

1893 Crotona Avenue is a red brick building in the Crotona section of the Bronx. All units feature hardwood floors, central air conditioning, high-end countertops and finishes, and energy-efficient appliances. Garage parking is available on a first-come first-serve basis for a $200 monthly fee.

1634 Church Avenue is a brick building in close proximity to Prospect Park. Each unit features air conditioning, high-end kitchen appliances, and washer/dryer access. Most amenities are included in the base rent, and include package lockers, bike lockers, fitness center, outdoor terrace, and roof terrace.

142 Lenox Road is a new luxury rental that welcomes pets and offers a virtual doorman, gym, backyard, rooftop terrace, package room, storage, and bike storage. The spacious units feature high-end appliances, dishwasher, washer/dryer, smart control for heating and cooling, and private outdoor space. Tenants will receive an iPhone or PlayStation 5 after lease signing.

770 and 774 Lexington Avenue are a pair of sister buildings in the Stuyvesant Heights section of Brooklyn. Apartments feature open living space, oversized windows, a full suite of kitchen appliances, and generous closet space. Amenities include virtual doorman and laundry in the building.

436 Lafayette Avenue is a red brick rental in Bedford-Stuyvesant. All units feature high-end appliances, air conditioning, and in-unit washer/dryers. The building welcomes pets and has virtual doorman service.

Each unit at 352 Rutland Road has its own private balcony and private storage closet in the basement. All apartments feature oversized windows, large living area, hardwood flooring, split units in each room, and generous closet space. A roof deck looks out on incredible city views.

Half the units at 2317 Cambreleng Avenue are designated affordable housing. All units feature hardwood floors and energy-efficient appliances. Amenities include a shared laundry room, bike room, indoor and outdoor recreation space, and parking for five vehicles.

All units at 522 Grand Street come with beautiful oak flooring, private balcony, washer/dryer hookup, and kitchen with black granite countertops and full stainless steel appliance package. The elevator building welcomes pets and is located in the heart of Williamsburg near top restaurants, cafes, and shops.

1825 Eastern Parkway is a newly constructed building in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn. Several units feature private balconies, and all apartments have hardwood floors and high-end kitchen appliances. Amenities include virtual doorman and shared laundry room.

2266 Pacific Street is a newly constructed building in Ocean Hill. Apartments have hardwood floors, high-end finishes, energy-efficient appliances, air conditioning, and a private patio or balcony. The building has virtual doorman service.

3 West 128th Street is an attractive rental near top Harlem restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and transportation. Apartments feature tall ceilings, oversized windows, and high-end appliances. Amenities include an elevator, gym, laundry room, and common roof deck with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

2010 Walton Avenue is a new red brick rental in the Tremont section of the Bronx. Amenities include a bike room, lounge, shared laundry room, and elevator. It is a short walk from the 4 train and local dining and shopping.

1533 East 19th Street 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 high-end kitchen appliances and finishes, air conditioning, and private patios or balconies. Amenities include a central laundry room and rooftop terrace.

345E94 is a luxury rental on the Upper East Side. All apartments feature spacious layouts, kitchens with high-end appliances, and expansive views of the skyline and river. For a membership fee, amenities include a 5,000-square-foot landscaped sun terrace with BBQ grill, state-of-the-art fitness center, and residents' lounge with fireplace and media room. Free month of rent and one year of free gym membership on initial lease.

3214 Cruger Avenue is anticipated to receive a Tax Exemption through the 421a Tax Incentive program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. All units will feature hardwood floors and energy efficient appliances.

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 three affordable units all have a huge queen-sized bedroom, stunning European tiled bathroom, high end open style kitchen, and one unit even has a full basement that can be converted into additional rooms!

177 and 185 Veronica Place, Flatbush
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. The building welcomes pets and features a central laundry room.

1641 Andrews Avenue is being rehabilitated through the Third Party Transfer Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Units in the lottery represent vacant units, and tenant pays for electricity and gas for cooking.

All units at Maverick Chelsea feature oversized tilt-and-turn windows, well-proportioned living areas, integrated Miele appliances in the kitchen, and luxurious primary baths. Several units have Juliet balconies, and there are private terraces along the building's setbacks. Approximately 12,000 square feet of amenities include a bike room, on-site parking, library, lounge, children's playroom, fitness studio, indoor pool, sauna, steam room, meditation room, and roof deck with fire pit, outdoor kitchen, and "Sky Beach."

All units at Astor LIC feature interiors by Lauren Jayne Design, hardwood floors throughout, in-unit washer/dryers, open designer kitchens with white quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, and modern baths. Amenities will include a 24-hour attended lobby, an interior lounge with "work-from-home" stations and bar, an outdoor fireplace, an open-air fitness area, a sun lounge, an outdoor television, and a rooftop dog run. The N, W, and 7 trains are close by.

All units at The Garnet feature stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher, microwave, sound-resistant flooring, and video intercoms. There is a shared laundry room on every floor, and amenities include a landscaped terrace, fitness center, children’s playroom, and storage room.

The Astra is a newly constructed rental in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Residential amenities include elevator, bike room, shared laundry room, storage, and rooftop terrace.

Archer Green is a brand new smoke-free, affordable housing development in the southeast section of Queens (CB#12) that features many amenities throughout the twenty three floor elevator building. The building's 351 lottery units have dishwashers and air conditioning and have access to a children's playroom and laundry facilities. Common space include a landscaped outdoor deck with grilling stations, community lounge and media/co-working space. Rent includes gas for cooking.

This building is being constructed through the Mix and Match Program of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The building has an elevator and a central laundry room.

This building is being constructed through the Mix & Match program of the New York City Development Corporation (HDC) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Inclusionary Housing (IH) program of HPD. This 174-unit affordable housing project is constructed to Passive House standards to achieve high energy efficiency and provide a healthy, comfortable environment for residents.

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.

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.
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.

• 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 (
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