Affordable Housing

The following information and resources can help address affordability challenges of living in New York City for both renters and homeowners.  

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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 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, question and answer forum, and guidelines for rent-stabilized apartments.

New York State

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.

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.

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 FHEPS, which helps families and individuals stay in their current home. 

Entertainment Community Fund

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

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 Community Services
Lantern Community Services 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

[email protected]

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.