NEW YORK - The city on Tuesday will role out its new affordable housing lottery application web portal.
More than 1,250,000 New Yorkers are trying to land one of the those coveted apartments and while your odds of winning the lottery won’t get better, the city hopes applying will get easier.
“Inadequate” and “glitchy,” “buggy” and "very hard for people to navigate,” is how Luis Caridad describes the city’s affordable housing lottery website and he’s an expert at using it.
“Housing Connect put a paper application system on the Internet,” said Emily Osgood, an Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development or HPD.
The city knows it was insufficient and is launching Tuesday a new web portal, accessible on smart phones, which promises to change the way people register for the affordable housing lottery.
“This helps people calculate their income in a way that is very accurate and it walks them through in a very clear and specific manner,” said Osgood.
It also lets you submit and save documents on-line and update your profile so developers are kept abreast of application changes immediately.
People consistently complain Housing Connect doesn’t connect them to the status of their applications, leaving them in the lurch. The city says that will change.
“You can log in and you’ll have a dashboard of all the projects to which you’ve applied and you’ll see the status right there for each one of them,” said HPD Associate Commissioner Margy Brown.
The new Housing Connect aims to eventually give applicants access to all affordable housing apartments, not just new developments but also re-rentals.
“Until now the only way people would get into something like that was by getting into individual waiting lists,” explained Caridad. “You had to write letters. Many of these waitlists required people to sign a letter every six months saying I’m still interested. So it was really cumbersome.”
Caridad has looked at the new portal and says it’s a big improvement, but worries about the larger issues. So far this year, 3,900,000 applications were submitted for 8,756 apartments. That gives each applications a .2 percent chance of winning.
“The broader issue of there not being enough affordable housing remains,” said Caridad. “But the problem with ways to access the affordable housing that is available seems to have been ideally improved if not hopefully resolved.”