Finding affordable housing is a near-impossible feat in New York City, where the average price for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,980. Therefore, debates have sprung up to determine ways to provide affordable housing in New York City. One way is through the New York City housing lottery (NYCHL). The idea is to provide affordable housing that costs individuals a third or less of their household income as rents. It only applies to buildings whose developers are getting tax breaks for setting aside some affordable apartments.

As we move forward, we’ll discuss the New York City housing lottery guide.

Check If You Qualify

To know if you qualify for lottery programs, check each building’s guidelines. Generally;

  • Your age is a crucial factor as you must be 18 years old.
  • Have a good credit score and a history of paying your debt and taxes in time. If your credit score is low, you can start working on it immediately.
  • Your household income has to lie within a specific range depending on the total number of people in your house.

Apply for The Lottery

You do not pay a broker or developer fee to apply for the lottery. You can either apply online through the NYC Housing Connect portal or offline through the mail. Note that developers will discard incomplete or fraudulent applications online or offline. Make sure you sign the application mail before sending it back. Developers may discard your application if you apply more than once for an apartment in the same building. Also, they will not consider your application if you submit it after the application deadline.

Although your chances of winning the lottery are higher if you have a small log number, there’s a way to improve your chances. Each building has preferred groups of people in the selection process. Some of which include:

  • Current community board residents
  • Veterans
  • Some disabled applicants
  • Municipal employees

If you fall within any of these groups, include this in your application to increase your chances of winning.

Getting The Results

Generally, applicants are contacted roughly 2 to 10 months after the application deadline. A developer may reach out to you for one of many reasons.

  • In case there was a flaw in your application for a lottery.
  • If you submitted more than one application for the lottery, and they have disqualified you.
  • The developer will contact you if you are selected to move on to the interview stage.

In some cases, qualified applicants do not go to the interview stage because of the enormous number of people who apply for this housing lottery.
If the developer randomly selects you after the interview, you may sign some more documents and wait for the HPD’s approval before signing the lease. Or you may be put on the waiting list until there is a vacant apartment. Within the waiting period, you have to write to the developer twice yearly to show your continual interest in the apartment.