City draws up new rules for affordable housing applications

The City makes changes to the affordable housing lottery rules to provide equal access to New Yorkers most in need.
Courtesy of Hunters Point South
By Bill Parry

The city has revised its affordable housing lottery rules.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vicki Been, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioner, announced Monday a series of new rules designed to ensure that city-based affordable housing reached the New Yorkers who need it most.

Important changes to the policies include ending developers’ and leasing agents’ ability to deny applications based solely on credit scores, new standards for homeless shelter referrals to account for special challenges faced by these households, strictly limiting the ability of landlords to deny an applicant based only on their exercising due process rights in Housing Court and imposing limits on personal assets.

“Every New Yorker deserves equal access to an affordable home, including veterans, the elderly and homeless individuals and families,” de Blasio said. “Disqualifications based solely on credit history, or because a tenant fought for his or her rights in Housing Court, have no place in our affordable housing programs. These key improvements to the rules level the playing field and give every household the chance to find a home within their means.”

The new marketing policies are designed to help the city deliver on the promises of the administration’s 10-year plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable homes. With nearly 53,000 affordable homes financed under the plan to date, the new rules will help ensure that those homes are available to the New Yorkers they were designed to serve, officials say.

“This is a positive move in the right direction and will make way for many additional New Yorkers to permanent affordable housing,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “For some time, these are the changes advocates have worked to address to ensure greater affordable housing opportunities for families across this city.”

The policies also promote greater language accessibility at all stages of the application process, require consistency in how developers and marketing agents communicate with applicants and apply credit criteria and other standards, and increase the transparency of the appeal process.

“In a city where the elderly, homeless, and new immigrant populations are struggling to find an affordable place to live, we welcome reforms that will open up the housing lottery and make the language more accessible to those who need it the most,” Woodside on the Move Executive Director Amy Paul said.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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