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My bedmate and I are about to move into a $2,854 one-bedroom accommodation in Stuyvesant Town that we won through the New York City accommodation lottery. That’s right, it’s not an burghal fable like alligators active in the sewers. You can absolutely account an befalling to alive in a rent-stabilized accommodation in Manhattan!

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But the action is not afterwards abounding frustrations, plus, it’s aloof that: an opportunity. Originally I anticipation already you won the lottery, they aloof accord you a lease. I couldn’t accept been added wrong. Here’s what we went through to get this “affordable” apartment, from alpha to finish.

We submitted our antecedent appliance for the middle-income action accommodation online through through the NY Accommodation Connect website in March of 2017. This is afterwards years of accepting the actuality that I’d be blockage in my East Village two-bedroom apartment, which I’ve been active in back 1990, forever. This is area it all begins. You accept to ample out the antecedent online anatomy with your assets and all your claimed information: who you’re active with, their activity (we’re both artists), how you like your eggs… Okay, maybe not that aftermost one, but it’s a absolute absolute application.

Tip: accomplish abiding it’s all 100 percent accurate, because if it’s not, you’re aloof blame yourself bottomward the band (yes, they analysis everything).

(For added rental listings and the casual income-restricted affairs opportunity, see the Accommodation Development Corporation website.)

About four months later, we got an email from Stuyvesant Town. 

“Congratulations! You won the lottery!” the email read.

I jumped up and bottomward with joy (seriously!) and my bedmate bought champagne. We anticipation that was it, but no. We still had to be accustomed as affair the building’s assets guidelines, which meant accepting a huge bulk of paperwork calm and notarized. We submitted the accumulation of affidavit to the admiral that be (Stuyvesant Town’s Action Division), and afresh we waited…. And waited… And waited.

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About six weeks afterwards we got addition email. 

“Thank you for your absorption in the Stuy-Town lottery. You accept been declined,” the email read.

There was a account of the affidavit why. They arrested the box that said we did not abatement aural the assets guidelines for the middle-income accommodation bracket.

“How can this be?” I yelled. We fabricated able-bodied aural the assets range, according to our tax returns. I was stumped.

Our alone recourse was to appeal. That’s what the abstracts said to do if we believed there was an error, which acutely there was.

We had to resubmit alike added paperwork proving our assets as able-bodied as our assets, additional belletrist of application and projected incomes for the afterward year. As a freelancer, I accept a ton of W2s and 1099s, and my administration change all the time. I additionally accustomed unemployment back I was laid off from one of my abiding freelance gigs. I accept this abashed them. So we submitted again. And waited again.

In backward September (a few weeks afterwards our appeal), we got the apprehension that we were alone a additional time. I was infuriated. I knew this was an arrant error.

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We alive abutting by, so we absolved over in person to see how Stuyvesant Town accurately went about artful our income. We capital to accept a altercation and absolute the errors in person. Did they try to activity my abutting year’s assets on aftermost year’s tax returns? I capital added advice than aloof a arrested box on a form.

So we went to the action offices, but no one would allocution to us, unless you calculation the big guy they beatific out to alarm us into leaving. He abreast us that no one was accustomed to allege to any action applicants in being and that our alone recourse—if we still capital to alive there—was to address to the Accommodation Development Corporation. 

We larboard activity defeated and unsure. Doubt crept in. Did we alike want the the accommodation that abundant anyway? It was aloof one disappointment afterwards the next, not to acknowledgment the time it took getting paperwork together. By this point, I knew that my guy at Kinko’s took his coffee with chrism and that his sister was activity to St. John’s University.

But I’m tenacious, and I still capital our attempt at the apartment. I absitively to accomplish a buzz call to the HDC first, cerebration animal acquaintance would help. I alien myself to a admirable woman (who wishes to abide unnamed) and it was to her that I addressed all my emails (there were many). She told me that according to the HDC’s Marketing Handbook you aboriginal accept to address a letter of complaint to the HDC’s Compliance Administration aural bristles business canicule of the appeal’s bounce letter’s postmark. You charge accommodate in your letter why you feel the address was alone in absurdity and abide any affidavit to abutment the explanation. I did aloof that.

I anon abstruse it’s the HDC that affairs the rental backdrop aloof for low-income or middle-income New York residents. As the authoritative agency, the HDC will alone analysis complaints by alone applicants to actuate if there are any area to catechism or arbitrate in an owner’s decision. Should the HDC acquisition a acumen to annul the rejection, the owner/agent has to accede with that decision.

I acquainted some relief. If the HDC said Stuyvesant Town fabricated a aberration by abnegation our antecedent and accessory applications, we’d win. Unfortunately, I begin out that the allotment of rulings chaotic by HDC is absolutely low. They didn’t accept any adamantine statistics on this, but there is absolute little allowance for estimation of assets or added condoning criteria.

Still, the admirable HDC woman I batten with said that back bodies don’t fit into boxes, it’s added difficult for the barrio to action their applications. There absolutely isn’t any abode on the forms for bodies who don’t accept archetypal application to explain themselves. 

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After a few circuit of emailing with the HDC, we got our acknowledgment afore Halloween. We won! We absolutely exhausted the system. Maybe a bigger way to put that is, we acclimated the arrangement to advice us get what we deserved: a rent-stabilized, one-bedroom accommodation in Stuyvesant Town. We move in on December 1st.

So what happened? It’s still a little bit of a mystery. Back we got approved, we dealt with a altered department, so they had no abstraction what we went through to get the place. We were told, essentially, that the Stuyvesant Town bodies didn’t apperceive how to ascribe all the advice about my income as there were so abounding altered streams. 

For example, if addition receives unemployment, they put that as the person’s sole antecedent of assets for the whole year. But as anyone who’s been on unemployment knows, it alone lasts six months. The HDC saw I had assorted W2s and 1099s and did the absolute algebraic that was bare to actuate my actual income for aftermost year, and that’s how we concluded up accepting a new decision, and ultimately, our new apartment. 

Thank you, HDC.

 

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