Housing Connect (Housing Lottery)

NYC Housing Connect, also know as the housing lottery, is an online housing portal for searching and applying for affordable housing in New York City. Potential tenants are selected at random. Applying and qualifying for housing is not guaranteed. It can be a very long wait to be selected for an eligibility appointment.

To apply:

You can save an application and submit on a later date, but once you submit, you cannot return to it and make any changes. For more information and a list of current housing opportunities please click here.

For low income, victims of domestic violence there are special guidelines:
  • Income eligibility guidelines:
    • Mandatory employment history for self-employment and freelance income is not required
    • Examples of income calculations are accepted
    • Increased allowances for change in household composition or income between application submission and processing
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
    HPD requires the following protocol if you identify as a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking:

    • VAWA Notice of Rights must be included as part of all decision notices; this includes, appointment/eligibility notice, ineligibility notice, approval notice, rejection notice or low priority notice.
    • You have 14 days to appeal a rejection under this notice

Credit Criteria for General Applicants

You may not be rejected solely because of your credit score, your score may only be used as an indicator of financial stability. You may be accepted with a FICO credit score of 580 without further review of financial stability.

If your score is below 580, you may not be rejected unless you fail to meet other factors associated to eviction/landlord-tenant action and other credit findings. Other factors used instead of a credit score may include:

  • Eviction/Landlord-Tenant Action – You may be rejected for a prior eviction (with cause) within the last two years. If you are a homeless shelter client, you may be rejected for multiple evictions within the last two years.
  • You may be rejected for the following credit findings:
    • Bankruptcy filed within the last 12 months
    • Delinquencies, Collections, and Money Judgments. You may be rejected if you have an open or unsatisfied delinquencies, collections and money judgments that are more than $5,000 in total. This may include money judgments, and any accounts on the credit report that are over 120 delinquent or have been transferred to collections agency. Student loans and medical debt is not included in this total.

Positive Rental History – This is a secondary check conducted if you do not meet the credit or housing criteria mentioned above. You can provide (if you must appeal), evidence of a positive rental history that shows consistent and complete and on time rental payments for the previous 12 months. You can submit the following:

  • Canceled checks
  • Rent receipts
  • A landlord’s written record of rent payment
  • Other evidence (may be subject to agency’s approval)

Credit Criteria for Homeless Shelter Clients
Same criterias as above, with the following exceptions:

  • If you have a credit score below 580, you may be accepted without further review of your financial stability.
  • Credit scores may be disregarded completely

Prohibited Information – The following information may not be used to determine applicant selection:

  • Debt to income ratios
  • Lack of credit history or rental history
  • Guarantors or co-signers
  • Home visits, photos/videos, or other representations of the applicant’s living situation
  • Personal references
  • Outreach to current or previous landlords, neighbors or others associated with the your living situation

Click here to see more information on the new marketing guidelines.