The Real Deal New York

New Council bill hopes to bring transparency to the housing lottery

HPD would have to release report on applicants
By Kathryn Brenzel | December 01, 2017 12:22PM

535 Carlton Avenue in Brooklyn and 855 Sixth Avenue

A new bill seeks to make the lottery for affordable housing units in the city more transparent.

Council member Mark Treyger on Thursday introduced the legislation, which would require the city to release information on how many applications they receive, how many were selected, how many were wait-listed and how many were rejected. The report, which would be released by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, would also include certain demographic information on the applicants. The information would be organized according to income levels of those candidates — if they make 30 percent of the area median income, between 50 and 80 percent, or between 80 and 165 percent.

“We’ll finally know exactly who qualifies for affordable housing and, perhaps more importantly, who doesn’t and why,” Treyger said during a council meeting on Thursday.

The bill could shed some light on demand for apartments in certain income bands. Some developers have expressed difficulty in finding tenants for units set aside for those in the higher AMI ranges (130 to 165 percent). Tenants at this income level often unaware that they are eligible for subsidized housing, or are deterred by the amount of paperwork that goes into snagging such units.

Late last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was expanding his affordable housing program by adding another 100,000 units to his goal. The administration aims to preserve or create 300,000 units by 2026.