pr_06-19-2018

UPDATED LOTTERY GUIDELINES TO REDUCE BARRIERS TO HOUSING
AND IMPROVE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Deeper restrictions on the use of credit criteria and greater flexibility in eligibility guidelines ensure that affordable housing reaches New Yorkers most in need

New provisions to protect victims of domestic violence in all housing lotteries

 

New York, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer and New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) President Eric Enderlin announce new updates to the affordable housing Marketing Handbook to strengthen the City’s policies and procedures for allocating affordable housing through NYC Housing Connect lotteries. Building on updates beginning in 2015, the changes further limit how credit history impacts housing applicants, address and clarify complexities in income calculations, and make the lottery selection process more efficient. Updates to marketing policies demonstrate the City’s continued commitment to delivering on the promise of Housing New York to create more opportunities for all New Yorkers to access affordable housing.

“As we accelerate and expand the goals of Housing New York, we are also looking to speed up the delivery of the affordable housing we are producing at record pace and ensure those homes serve the New Yorkers who need them most,” said HDC Board Chair and HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.  “These updated marketing guidelines will further level the playing field for low-income New Yorkers applying for affordable housing opportunities; make sure victims of domestic violence get the protections they need; and reduce the documentation requirements to increase efficiencies.  As we strive to make New York the fairest big city in the country, we are grateful to all our partners for working with us to make the process of applying for affordable housing as equitable and efficient as possible.”

Updated policies and procedures:

Clarifying eligibility guidelines for a speedier review process:

  • Eliminating mandatory employment history requirement for self-employment and freelance income
  • Providing examples of income calculations to reduce gray areas and the need for appeals
  • Making greater allowances for change in household composition or income between application submission and processing

Introducing additional protections for domestic violence survivors:

  • Enacting Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provisions across all lotteries above and beyond the federal requirements
  • Ensuring applicants cannot be denied housing for adverse factors, such as poor credit, negative debt payment history, etc., if those factors are a direct result of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking

Limiting options to reject applicants based on credit history and debt:

  • Eliminating consideration of debt-to-income ratio
  • Making bankruptcy consideration limited to 12 month history review
  • Raising the maximum threshold for money judgments, liens, and delinquencies to $5,000, and now excluding medical debt and student loans
  • Reducing maximum look back on landlord-tenant actions to two years and restricting it to for-cause evictions only

Reducing document requirements, where possible:

  • No longer requiring re-approval of applicants after initial qualification for non-Tax Credit/HOME projects
  • Reducing documentation requirements for non-Tax Credit/HOME projects

 

The changes go into effect July 1, 2018, and apply to all projects. Developers are made aware of the marketing policies and procedures and must adhere to them when identifying qualified applicants for affordable housing units.

“Obtaining affordable housing can be a challenge for many New Yorkers, and it can be especially challenging for survivors of domestic violence,” said Cecile Noel, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. “We applaud HPD’s and HDC’s efforts to update their marketing guidelines to include key Violence Against Women Act protections to ensure that domestic violence survivors are not discriminated against when looking for housing while also making the affordable housing lottery process easier to navigate. We look forward to continuing our partnership with them to support survivors of intimate partner violence in New York City.”

“Making affordable housing accessible to more New Yorkers is critical if we are to solve the housing crisis facing our City,” said New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. “Along with building more affordable housing, we must do everything we can to help New Yorkers access it. These revised guidelines reduce barriers to affordable housing for more New Yorkers and will make it possible for them to find an affordable place to live in this city.”

"New York City's housing lotteries just got a whole lot fairer," said New York City Council Member Ben Kallos. "By simplifying income qualifications and eliminating considerations of debt-to-income ratio, New York City renters will have easier access to the affordable housing available on Housing Connect. This is a smart move by the Department of Housing and Preservation and Development to eliminate red tape."

Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director of Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) said: “The new housing lottery guidelines are important because they will help more vulnerable New Yorkers qualify for affordable housing.  Reducing unnecessary barrier to apply by simplifying the eligibility guidelines, enacting protections for domestic violence victims, and eliminating the option to reject applicants based on credit history alone is an important step forward, and will create more opportunities for households who may have been previously rejected from affordable housing.  As a society, we are realizing more and more that out-of-context data such as credit history and debt can follow people around and, even without their knowing it, and damage their opportunities and their future. This is especially true for the low- and moderate-income people. We applaud HPD’s commitment to leading the way on this issue by creating easier access to the housing for the New Yorkers who most need it.”

Joanne Oplustil, President & CEO of CAMBA, said: “These new changes to the lottery process represent great news to the many disadvantaged New Yorkers who are seeking affordable housing. Too often, many of them could not proceed with their applications because the obstacles were too great. The additional protections for domestic violence survivors are vital. CAMBA salutes HPD/HDC for recognizing these obstacles and for making the process less cumbersome for the many clients with whom we work.”

“Ariva, Inc, a nonprofit financial capabilities provider serving low- and moderate-income New Yorkers applauds these changes to the housing lottery guidelines. The changes, especially the tenfold increase to the delinquency threshold and the exclusion of student loan and medical debt, will do a lot to expand access to the City’s affordable housing pipeline for people who need it most.  We think we’ll see an  immediate increase in successful applications by lower income people in the housing lottery thanks to these improvements”, said Irene Baldwin, Executive Director, Ariva.

 

Learn more about the affordable housing lottery process and about available housing lotteries by visiting the links below:

 

All of the above webpages can be accessed through HPD’s website at nyc.gov/hpd/findhousing

 

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026.  For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) is the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency and is charged with helping to finance the creation or preservation of affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan. Since 2003, HDC has financed more than 140,000 housing units using over $20.2 billion in bonds and other debt obligations, and provided in excess of $1.8 billion in subsidy from corporate reserves. HDC ranks among the nation’s top issuers of mortgage revenue bonds for affordable multi-family housing on Thomson Reuter’s annual list of multi-family bond issuers. In each of the last five consecutive years, HDC’s annual bond issuance has surpassed $1.3 billion. For additional information, visit: http://www.nychdc.com