Affordable Housing

As New York City becomes more and more unaffordable, there are organizations, city, state and federal government resources to help tenants and homeowners with financing and understanding their rights. 

Piggy Bank Image

Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University
A directory of New York City affordable housing programs is provided.  There is also an interactive map available at:

Housing Court Answers (HCA)
Housing Court Answers provides a reliable resource for information about housing-related issues, including, housing laws and regulations, Housing Court, rent arrears assistance, and homelessness prevention.

Just Fix
Just Fix developed an app that helps tenants track and manage problems with their landlord.

Law Help in NY State    
Find information on free legal aid in New York - learn about legal rights, courts, and other housing issues. Information is available in over 36 languages.

Legal Aid Society-Housing Help
The Legal Aid Society's Civil Practice Program works to improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers by helping vulnerable families and individuals obtain and maintain the necessities of life - housing, health care, food and subsistence income.  The Program helps to address a range of legal problems, including domestic violence, family law, immigration, employment, and consumer law issues.

Information for Tenants
245 West 104th St.
(212) 866- 3970
Call for dates and times.

At the office of Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, serving New York’s 69th Assembly District (Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights, Upper West Side and West Harlem), information is provided to tenants.

To receive electronic newsletters, send an email to

Metropolitan Council on Housing
Non-profit organization which advocates for affordable housing and provides information on a variety of tenant issues.

Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc. 
Through affordable lending and a first-time homebuyer program, NHS enables individuals and families to invest in, preserve and improve their homes and neighborhoods. 

New York City Bar 
The New York City Bar provides a legal referral service. Call 212-626-7373, or obtain a referral onlineThe Legal Hotline - offers legal information, advice and referrals to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney or do not have access to legal representation. The Hotline assists callers with a range of civil legal issues, including matrimonial and family law, housing law, domestic violence, bankruptcy, and debt collection and benefits.

New York City Housing Development Corporation 
HDC seeks to increase the supply of multi-family housing, stimulate economic growth and revitalize neighborhoods by financing the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low to middle-income New Yorkers. Lists of affordable apartments for rent or sale are available on their website.

New York City Civil Court - Housing  
Information about Housing Court in New York City is provided. The document "How to Prepare for a Landlord-Tenant Trial" is of particular interest. Additionally, another guide written jointly by the New York City Bar Association and the New York City Civil Court might be useful - 

New York City

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development 
Resources and information for developers, homebuyers, homeowners, housing education courses, residential building owners, residential tenants, apartment lotteries (both to rent and buy), Section 8, and Mitchell-Lama are provided. There is the ability to sign-up for HPD email updates as well.

Homebase: A city-wide program designed to help families and individuals overcome immediate housing problems that could result in becoming homeless, and to develop a plan for long-term housing stability.

Home First Down Payment Assistance Program: Many New Yorkers want to buy a home but don't have enough money saved for their down payment and closing costs. The Home First Down Payment Assistance Program provides qualified homebuyers with up to 6% of a home's purchase price toward the down payment or closing costs on a 1-4 family home, a condominium, or a cooperative in one of the five boroughs of New York City.  Check the web site for qualification requirements.

Mitchell-Lama: The Mitchell-Lama program was enacted by the State in the mid-1950’s as a way to promote and facilitate the construction of affordable rental and cooperative housing throughout New York State. Each Mitchell-Lama development requires you to send a letter and application to the managing agent.  Most buildings have waiting lists and often the lists are closed, but occasionally one opens up.  Waiting lists are typically chronological, though occasionally veterans and people with disabilities get priority.  

NYC Housing Connect:  The NYC Housing Connect website lists projects currently accepting tenants and purchasers for the apartment lotteries and 80/20 programs.  The deadlines and income caps are listed, which change with each project, as well as an on-line form to submit.  The process can take anywhere from two to ten months before you hear back.  If you're rejected, the site will let you know how to appeal or redirect you to other developments. 

New York City Affordable Housing Resource Center: The New York City Affordable Housing Resource Center website provides information on all aspects of New York City housing, including renting an apartment, buying a home, and apartment maintenance issues. 

New York City Freeze Your Rent Program: The NYC Rent Freeze Program, which includes the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program and the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) Program, helps those eligible stay in affordable housing by freezing their rent.

New York City Housing Authority: The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) provides decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low and moderate-income residents throughout the five boroughs.  NYCHA also administers a citywide Section 8 Leased Housing Program in rental apartments. 

New York City Commission on Human Rights: The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race, color, creed, age, national origin, alien, age or citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and partnership status.  A human rights complaint may be filed with the Law Enforcement Bureau of the City’s Commission on Human Rights, located at 40 Rector Street, 9th Floor, in lower Manhattan or any of their Community Service Centers. The law requires that the complaint be filed within one year of the last alleged act of discrimination.

New York City Housing Development Corporation – Low-income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP): Financing for affordable rental housing is provided, though reserved for people earning a maximum pre-determined income. 

New York City Rent Guidelines Board: NYCRGB is mandated to establish rent adjustments for the approximately one million dwelling units subject to the Rent Stabilization Law in New York City. The site provides information on the housing market including resources for finding apartments, market data, landlord/tenant issues, rights and advice, question and answer forum, and guidelines for rent-stabilized apartments.

New York State

New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal: The Division of Housing and Community renewal in New York State is responsible for the supervision, maintenance and development of affordable low- and moderate-income housing in New York State. Community development, housing operations, rent administration (including information about rent-control and rent-stabilization), and policy research and development for the state is provided. 

The State of New York Mortgage Agency: SONYMA provides safe, low-interest fixed-rate mortgages, down payment assistance and other programs specifically designed to help low- and moderate-income families become homeowners. There are several different programs which enable first-time homebuyers, military veterans, and low-income families to purchase homes.

Tenants’ Rights Guide: This guide is published by the New York State Attorney General and provides information on types of housing, leases, rent payments, lease succession or termination, habitability and repairs, safety, utility services, tenants’ personal protections, finding an apartment, and other resources.

P.A.’L.A.A.N.T.E. Harlem 
People Against Landlord Abuse and Tenant Exploitation

PA'LANTE Harlem assists residents living in rent stabilized and federally subsidized buildings one-on-one and in small groups. They provide technical assistance, training and legal services, and connect residents to the government and nonprofit resources that enable them to remain in their homes, hold negligent landlords accountable for critical safety violations and ensure that the buildings in their neighborhood are safe, habitable homes.

Tenant Net
Tenant Net provides information on tenant issues, legal information and advice, as well as links to tenant organizations and government agencies.

UHAB/Urban Homesteading Assistance Board
UHAB provides home ownership information as well as information and listings on existing and newly-converted cooperative HDFC buildings.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
FHA loans have been helping people become homeowners since 1934. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – which is part of HUD – insures loans, so your lender can offer you a better deal and therefore have low down payments, low closing costs, and easy credit qualifying.  Your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price, and most of your closing costs and fees can be included in the loan.  Usually only available on 1-4 unit properties, and the property must be FHA-approved.  Some condominiums are approved and can be searched on this webpage

HUD's Single Family programs include mortgage insurance on loans to purchase new or      existing homes, condominiums, manufactured housing, houses needing rehabilitation, and for reverse equity mortgages to elderly homeowners.  

HUD's Multifamily programs provide mortgage insurance to HUD-approved lenders to facilitate the construction, substantial rehabilitation, purchase and refinancing of multifamily housing projects and healthcare facilities.

The Actors Fund
The Actors Fund offer seminars in various locations in New York City to educate members of the performing arts and entertainment community about affordable housing options.

Asian Americans For Equality (AAFE) Community Development Fund
AAFE CDF is a subsidiary of Asian Americans for Equality, a community based, not-for-profit organization established in 1974, committed to community service and empowerment targeting immigrants, low-income families and minorities throughout New York City.

Breaking Ground 
Breaking Ground’s success in ending homelessness is built on a housing model that targets individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Their affordable housing units are located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Connecticut.

The Coalition for the Homeless
The Coalition for the Homeless offers a variety of housing programs, including FEPS, which helps families and individuals stay in their current home. 

Goddard Riverside
These units are for formerly homeless single adults or adults at high risk of homelessness because of their age, income or disability. There are also units for senior citizens and the mobility-impaired. Tenants must be capable of living independently.

Habitat for Humanity – New York City 
Habitat for Humanity-NYC builds homes in all five boroughs for ownership by families and individuals in need. 

Lantern Organization 
Lantern Group has several affordable housing projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.

University Settlement Society of NY Project Home    
Project Home is a unique, comprehensive case management program helping formerly homeless and at-risk residents of the Lower East Side and Chinatown maintain their permanent housing, personal and financial stability, and family safety.  The Project's strength lies in its ability to help almost anyone within the community who walks through the door, with direct service or supported referrals. 

Columbia University
Office of Work/Life
Housing Information and Referral Service

Disclaimer:  The content in this document is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice and should not substitute for the advice of an experienced real estate attorney. Also, the links and references to web sites and organizations are provided for informational purposes only.  Columbia University does not endorse any specific organization or web site, or real estate professional and does not suggest that one source should be utilized to the exclusion of another.