Neighborhood Intel

Applying for affordable housing? Do it right

By Virginia K. Smith  | July 30, 2014 - 11:59AM

To land affordable housing in New York is, quite literally, to have won the lottery. On top of low inventory, strict requirements, and stiff competition, add one more obstacle standing between you and a low-priced apartment: most people who are eligible don't actually know how to apply, or often do so incorrectly.

"Trivialities such as white out on an application can get it dismissed," Brooklyn Brief reports, as can issues like incorrect credit scores or "two estranged partners both claiming their child as a dependent." Failing that, the site notes, "some residents might not even know how to apply for housing, or what the eligibility requirements are." 

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a non-profit made up of three local business improvement districts, is aiming to change this, and is organizing a series of educational workshops to prepare residents for the 1,000 units of affordable housing headed to the neighborhood. "I want families to be ready when it's time to go through what is a very fair lottery system," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at a press conference for the program. "Everyone should be on the same page, reading from the same playbook, to ensure we maximize affordable housing."

The situation is often so muddled that Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed said that as a result of mishandled applications, "developers don't even fill the ranks of the affordable housing units they've set aside."

The first workshop will be held at Brown Memorial Baptist Church tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. (more information can be found here). And if you'd like to start assessing your options, the Housing Department keeps a list of eligibility requirements here, as well as a running list of affordable developments that are currently accepting applications. (You can also sign up to receive email notifications when new buildings are added to the list.)

One major positive we learned from this whole thing? Of the many new affordable units about to hit Downtown Brooklyn, apparently none of them are slated to have a "poor door."


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