Below is an overview of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing including subsidy/rent levels, eligibility requirements, and the application process with specialized information for victims of domestic violence.
Key Program Points
- NYCHA applicants must meet one of NYCHA’s working or needs-based priorities to apply for public housing.
- Victims of domestic violence (VDV) are among the groups considered emergency priorities for public housing and therefore have much shorter waiting periods than non-emergency applicants.
- VDV applicants must meet NYCHA’s documentation criteria to be certified as a victim of domestic violence for public housing. Please see eligibility requirements below.
- Applicants must be 18 or older and earning some source of income (employment, PA, SSI) that falls under NYCHA’s income limits.
- Once in public housing, households pay 30% of their income or their Public Assistance shelter allowance towards rent.
- There is no time limit for how long a household may remain in public housing if they remain a good tenant.
NOTE: Victims of domestic violence who do not meet the criteria for the VDV priority may apply for public housing through one of NYCHA’s non-emergency priorities. Homeless families and singles are no longer considered an emergency priority. Obtaining housing through a non-emergency priority may take several years.
NYCHA public housing residents pay 30% of their income or their Public Assistance shelter allowance towards rent. If a family’s income rises above NYCHA’s income limits during their tenancy, the household can stay in NYCHA housing but will pay the full NYCHA rent. However, the full rent will not exceed NYCHA’s flat rents, which are below-market rate levels. Click here for the flat rent schedule.
- Age: The head of household must be 18 or older to live in public housing
- Income: Households must be receiving some source of income (i.e. employment, public assistance, or SSI) that does not exceed NYCHA’s income limits.
- Priority Documentation: Applicants must meet one of NYCHA’s working or needs-based priorities. In order to receive priority certification as a victim of domestic violence (VDV), applicants must meet NYCHA’s VDV documentation criteria.
Public housing applications should be completed online. For instructions on how to obtain a NYCHA public housing application and for a link to the online application, visit NYCHA’s website. Public Housing applications should include priority documentation and must be completed carefully.
If you are applying for public housing under the victim of domestic violence priority, you will be asked to choose two boroughs on your application, but generally only your first choice is considered. NYCHA uses an excluded zip code list to determine what zip codes are unsafe for domestic violence applicants based on the zip codes in which any domestic violence incidents occurred. VDV applicants should not choose boroughs where they may have many excluded zip codes. Before selecting a borough, applicants may also wish to see how long the relative wait time is for an apartment in each borough. NYCHA publishes a list tallying the number of certified N0 and N1 applications by apartment size and borough showing how long the wait is to help guide decisions on borough choice. The list is updated quarterly.
NOTE: Applicants choosing Manhattan or Queens can expect to wait much longer for a public housing placement than those selecting Brooklyn, the Bronx, or Staten Island.
Applicants who would like to move into the N1 priority category for Domestic Violence (a priority is not given for the other VAWA categories of Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking, however transfers can be approved under these categories) should request the HUD VAWA Self-Certification form and instructions along with VDV Document Review Cover Sheet form from either the NYCHA Call Center (718-707-7771) or Walk-in Centers in Brooklyn or the Bronx. NYCHA staff at either center will create and provide the applicant with the forms. Once the applicant receives the forms, the cover sheet will have a bar code that identifies the applicant and case, this will make the request easier and faster to process. Applicants should make sure there is a bar code or else it will go to an uncategorized queue and someone will have to try to find out who it belongs to, this can be quite problematic. Applicants should return the completed forms with supporting documentation within 14 business days from the day they receive the forms. The documents will then be scanned into NYCHA’s system and a Service Request will be created for the Applications and Tenancy Administration Department (ATAD) under their case to review the documents. The applicant will be sent a letter either approving the request, disapproving it or requesting additional information
To check the status of an application after filing, applicants can use NYCHA’s “Self-Service Portal” online. The portal allows people to see their priority code, interview dates and waitlist status. You may also check your application status by phone. Applicants with DV priority status should track their applications by calling the Customer Contact Center at (718) 707-7771; applicants will be asked for their DV PIN number to verify their identity to receive information on their applications.
Common NYCHA Issues
- Application Ineligibility: The main eligibility obstacles for public housing applicants are immigration status, criminal background, and rental arrears/eviction from a previous NYCHA or Section 8 apartment.
- NYCHA Transfers: Click here for information about transferring out of your public housing apartment.