Helping People Apply for Affordable Housing

Melissa Burch, of Forest City Ratner, one of the development companies assisting with educating residents on how to apply for affordable housing (Photo by Matthew Taub via Brooklyn Brief)

Melissa Burch, of Forest City Ratner, one of the development companies assisting with educating residents on how to apply for affordable housing (Photo by Matthew Taub via Brooklyn Brief)

The need for having more affordable housing units in the city is much-discussed, but less attention is paid to the nuts and bolts of how people can actually go about obtaining such housing. On July 29, community leaders and housing experts gathered at Borough Hall in Brooklyn to present plans for offering a series of workshops to guide people through the process, Matthew Taub of Brooklyn Brief reports.

More than 1,000 such units are expected to become available in the borough over the next few years, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Borough President Eric Adams, among others, want to be sure that people who are eligible have access to that housing and know how to go about the application process.

“This issue is rarely discussed, but increasingly a problem,” said Tucker Reed of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Getting these new affordable housing units online is not enough. Eligible residents are too frequently disqualified due to minor administrative errors. Incredibly, and as a result, developers don’t even fill the ranks of the affordable housing units they’ve set aside.”

The partnering community organizations and developers hope their new initiative will expedite the application process for lower-income families, so that they will be better positioned in housing lotteries. Organizing partners also intend on using the program to inform applicants on issues of managing credit, putting together relevant identification documents and following procedures to make timely rent payments in order to better qualify for housing lotteries.

An application can be thrown out if white-out was used on it, Brooklyn Brief says. Community organizers and some real estate developers are partnering to offer applicants guidance.

The first educational workshop is planned for Thursday, July 31, at Brown Memorial Baptist Church. For more on the workshops and the assistance they will provide affordable housing seekers, read the article in Brooklyn Brief.

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