New Yorkers file millions of applications each year for the thousands of taxpayer subsidized apartments that become available under the city's affordable housing lottery program.
The odds of winning the housing lottery are 600 to 1.
Now, developers tell NY1 the de Blasio administration plans to take as many as 200 of those apartments out of the lottery system to put individuals and families experiencing homelessness in them.
Companies that manage affordable housing developments say the units being designated for the homeless are among the apartments they have the most difficulty filling, in part, because the rents are set too high.
The city plans to pay the rent and let homeless individuals and families move in.
The city has no plans to provide social services on site for these homeless tenants, as is provided in many so-called "supportive housing" developments.
Developers say they are concerned that, without these services readily available, the homeless will have trouble adjusting. They are also worried about how the paying tenants of these buildings will cope.
These apartments typically are vacant because people who win the right to live in them, by meeting income guidelines and being selected in the lottery, balk at the rent, which in some cases can exceed $4,000 a month for a three-bedroom unit.
"This administration is identifying new and creative ways to combat homelessness,” said Deputy Mayoral Press Secretary Jane Meyer when asked for a comment. “We saw an opportunity to provide high quality permanent housing to some of our homeless neighbors, and we are seizing it."
The administration says only individuals and families who do not need on-site supportive services will be placed in these apartments. They did not provide a timeline for when this new policy will begin.