How to Find Affordable Housing Using NYC’s Housing Connect

Getting a rent stabilized apartment through New York City’s affordable housing lottery can be difficult, but it is like winning the lottery. These apartments have a limit to how much they can increase their rent prices, offer automatic lease renewals, and give renters long-term affordable housing.

Related read: What to Know About Rent-Stabilized Apartments in NYC

If your annual salary falls within a specified income bracket, you’re eligible to apply for an apartment through New York’s affordable housing lottery, NYC Housing Connect. This lottery uses a randomized selection process, which means securing an apartment can be tricky and isn’t guaranteed. However, like with any kind of apartment, there are things you can do to increase your chances at being selected.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best strategies for being selected in the NYC Housing Connect lottery.

1. Be Persistent

Because the lottery uses a randomized selection process, you probably won’t be selected the first time. That’s normal; don’t lose hope and give up. Keep in mind that it can often take years of applying before you are able to secure an apartment.

Additionally, don’t forget that if your lifestyle or income changes, your eligibility may change as well. This means if the first time you applied, you were unemployed and living with your parents, but since then you have found consistent work, you’ll have to reapply.

Securing an apartment takes patience and persistence, but this shouldn’t deter you from applying. For a long-term affordable housing solution, the wait can be worth it.

2. Submit One Application Per Building

When submitting your application, you may choose to do so online through the Housing Connect website, or have a paper application mailed to you. However, when applying for a specific building, be sure to only submit one application per household, as submitting more than one may disqualify you from being considered at all.

Don’t submit both an online and paper application for a building, even if you are doing so just to be cautious. It could end up costing you your chances of being accepted into a building completely.

3. Be Sure Your Information Is Up To Date

When registering for the affordable housing lottery, you will be instructed to provide information on everyone in your household. This means you will have to document their incomes, assets, and disability statuses. If there are any changes to this information, such as someone in your household receiving a raise, you’ll need to update your records on Housing Connect. Failing to do so may result in you being rejected for an apartment if it turns out your information is different from when you applied.

4. Have Your Paperwork In Order

You may have to upload specified documents in order to confirm your eligibility for the lottery. Some of the documents you will be asked for are your pay stubs, W-2 tax forms, and bank statements.

During the application process, your goal should always be to submit what is necessary as soon as possible. This will put you at the top of the list and increase your chances of getting an apartment. Therefore, make sure all your paperwork is sorted out, organized, easily accessible, and ready to go; you don’t want to find yourself frantically scouring for your paperwork at the last minute.

5. Be Realistic About Your Application

The first thing you want to do is ensure that you really do meet the income requirements to qualify for an apartment. If your income is near the upper range of eligibility, it is possible to be selected and later find out that your assets or income have made you ineligible. Or, if a building has stated their preferences and you don’t meet them, you need to be realistic about your chances at getting an apartment in that building. Granted, this shouldn’t deter you from applying, as there’s always a chance, but when you’re filling out multiple applications, it’s best to conserve your energy and apply only to the units and buildings where you’re most likely to be accepted, both now and down the road.

Additionally, if you are applying due to a disability, you must be sure that your disability meets the criteria for an apartment that has been made to accommodate those with disabilities. This means you may be asked to prove that you need an apartment that is, for example, wired with support features.

6. Check Your Email And Online Dashboard Often

If you’re given a low number like 17, you’re more likely to hear back about your selection sooner than someone who, for example, was given a number such as 30,000. However, regardless of the number you were given, be sure to check your online dashboard often in order to monitor the status of the applications you have submitted.

Additionally, you’ll want to make it a habit to keep your email inbox clear of junk mail and check it regularly for updates on the lottery. You will want to be sure you check all folders of your email, including your spam folder, because if you fail to respond to emails regarding your eligibility, you might miss deadlines for paperwork.

Outerbridge Law Protects Renters’ Rights

Renting in New York is hard; there’s no question about it. With the city seeing some of the largest rent increases it’s seen in years, inflation, and an overall increasing cost of living, finding a long-term solution for affordable housing is critical for a large portion of the city’s renters.

If you think that your rights as a tenant have been violated, don’t wait until your landlord has illegally evicted you; contact Outerbridge Law today to see if you have a case.